Research has shown that family acceptance is an enormous protective factor for the long-term wellbeing of LGBTQ and gender expansive children and youth. Accepting behavior is positively correlated with a myriad of mental and physical health indicators including increased self-esteem, social support, and general health status, as well as decreased depression, substance abuse, and suicidal ideation and behaviors among LGBTQ youth. Conversely, LGBTQ youth with higher levels of family rejection are more likely to report attempted suicide, higher levels of depression, illegal drug use, and engagement in unprotected sexual activity than youth whose families show accepting behavior. LGBTQ youth whose families do not show accepting behavior are significantly more likely to enter foster care or the juvenile justice system than heterosexual youth and LGBTQ youth whose families show accepting behavior.
The Youth Acceptance Project, works with the families of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning (LGBTQ) and gender expansive children and youth in foster care. The intervention serves as a family preservation and family reunification tool, assisting families who are struggling with the sexual orientation and/or gender identity/expression of their child. Family advocates use a psycho-educational model to address the misinformation, resistance, fear, and grief that families often struggle with; ultimately moving families to a place of acceptance of their child. The intervention is based on research that documents the impact and harm that families can create when they are not accepting of their child. The result is families that become accepting and affirming of their children. The intervention reduces the time that children spend in foster care and reunites children with their families.
Family Builders can provide this direct service to counties in the Bay Area. The agency also provides a training and consultation model to jurisdictions outside the Bay Area to implement this program in their community.
The services are designed to prepare clinicians to deliver culturally-informed, SOGIE (sexual orientation gender identity/expression) competent ethical, support services to gender expansive and LGBTQ youth and their families, and includes an intensive multi-day training as well as, ongoing, follow-up consultation.
For more information email us at YAP@familybuilders.org