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Working With Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Families in Adoption
Series: Bulletins for Professionals|
Child Welfare Information Gateway |
|Year Published: 2011|
Tips for Effective Recruitment/Retention
Research has shown that less than one-fifth of adoption agencies actively attempt to recruit adoptive parents from the lesbian and gay community (Gates et al., 2007). As a result, many LGBT adults feel that agencies will not welcome them or will treat them as second-class applicants. In many communities, there are significant numbers of LGBT adults who would welcome the opportunity to foster or adopt if they knew they were wanted and needed and would be treated with respect. For public agencies, expanding the pool of qualified, diverse resource families is a high priority and is essential to meeting the permanency goals of the agency. Agencies that want to maximize their recruitment efforts in the LGBT community and implement best practices in retaining LGBT families can consider the following activities3:
- Ensure that the staff and volunteers who conduct your orientation sessions, training, and licensing activities are comfortable talking about diverse families and will make an effort to speak directly to and about the LGBT resource families who are part of your program.
- If you don't have experience working with the LGBT population, educate yourself to gain experience and cultural competence before doing a family assessment.
- If you are a supervisor or manager in an organization, ensure that your organization has a means of educating staff to be culturally competent in this area, and communicate that as an expectation.
- Develop new materials, or modify existing materials, to reflect that your agency welcomes and includes LGBT resource families. Include photos of diverse families as well as specific language and images that resonate with the community. Include this message in all agency communications.
- Reach out to your local LGBT community center, community organizations, media, and key LGBT community leaders to establish partnerships.
- Host a recruitment activity at a local LGBT venue or in a neighborhood that is LGBT-friendly.
- Participate in the local LGBT Pride events by having an exhibit booth or hosting a recruitment event specifically targeting the LGBT community.
- Ask your current LGBT resource families to speak at events and network in their own community. Word of mouth is often the most effective recruitment method.
- Seek out religious congregations that are welcoming and affirming—those more likely to have LGBT congregants, if you are engaged in faith-based recruitment efforts.
- When possible, create opportunities for your LGBT-identified staff members or key volunteers to meet with your LGBT families.
- Ensure that your "waiting" families group is inclusive of LGBT individuals and couples and that there is ongoing communication with these families while they are in the process.
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