Being inclusive and welcoming to LGBTQ humans

Being inclusive and welcoming to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) humans is an important message for the Division of Child Welfare (DCW), a division within the Colorado Department of Human Services Office of Children, Youth and Families. All the employees within the DCW are in the process of taking the training Setting the Foundation: LGBTQ Competency for Child Welfare Professionals, offered through the CDHS Child Welfare Training System. 

This critical session in the Human Rights Campaign All Children—All Families training series, equips child welfare professionals with a comprehensive foundation of knowledge on LGBTQ individuals and their experiences within the child welfare system. Participants learn key concepts and terminology related to sexual orientation and gender identity and expression (SOGIE). Research findings on LGBTQ-headed families—including demographics and outcomes for children raised by LGBTQ parents—and the prevalence and experiences of LGBTQ youth in foster care are also explored. The session concludes by outlining the steps every child welfare professional can take to welcome and affirm LGBTQ youth and parents within the walls of their agencies and beyond.

From the moment you walk through the doors at CDHS headquarters in Denver you know that you are welcome. That is the message that Reggie Bicha and the employees of the CDHS Office of Children, Youth and Families hope to convey by posting stickers provided by the Human Rights Campaign. 

Posting these stickers is the Division’s way of rolling out the welcome mat, so to speak, for LGBTQ individuals to reinforce a workplace culture that is LGBTQ friendly. Making an effort to learn terminology is another way to be an ally to the LGBTQ community. Don’t know what we mean by ally? Check out this great glossary written by Human Rights Campaign to help give people the words and meanings to make conversations easier and more comfortable. 

For several years, CDHS has also made it a priority to recruit foster and adoptive parents from the LGBTQ community to meet the need for foster parents and find permanent homes for children and teens waiting to be adopted in the foster care system. CDHS is collaborating with a number of county human service agencies and child placement agencies to have a presence at Denver PrideFest June 16th and 17th and Colorado Springs PrideFest July 14th and 15th to help recruit foster and adoptive parents. Stop by and say hi! 

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