getREAL

Program Description

getR.E.A.L California is a three-year initiative aimed at promoting the healthy sexual and identity development of all children involved with the California child welfare system. Led by Family Builders by Adoption, it is part of the national getR.E.A.L (Recognize. Engage. Affirm. Love) project of the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP). The national project is a partnership between the CSSP, Family Builders, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the Jane Adams School of Social Work of the University of Illinois at Chicago (JACSW).

getR.E.A.L California’s implementation plan involves integrating a sexual orientation and gender identity/expression (SOGIE) framework into current statewide initiatives in collaboration with the California Department of Social Services and the California County Welfare Directors Association. The initiatives include the Continuum of Care Reform effort, implementation of the Katie A. settlement agreement, California Partners for Permanency, and the California Child Welfare Core Practice Model. Additionally, the plan involves hosting regional convenings of county child welfare teams in partnership with the California Social Work Education Center and the regional child welfare training academies. These convenings, which will provide education, as well as opportunities for peer support and county-level planning, are intended to support counties in integrating SOGIE-informed policy and practice into their work. In addition, the initiative involves working with statewide child welfare training entities to ensure standardized training curricula are used throughout the state. Initiative staff participates in relevant statewide meetings, trainings, and conferences, and are working with national partners on resource development and webinars. The JACSW is evaluating the work of the initiative.

In addition to the statewide efforts, getR.E.A.L California is carrying out site-based work in Fresno and Santa Clara counties, both of which have been working the past several years to better support the SOGIE-informed policy and practice. Respective work groups in each county have identified research questions and research strategies to gather information that will better inform the work that has been done to date. JACSW will be working with the CSSP and Family Builders to conduct this research and share it at the local and statewide levels.

For more information, contact the getR.E.A.L Project Director, Carolyn Reyes, at creyes@familybuilders.org.