What We Work For
We help transform child welfare policy to promote the healthy development of LGTBQ and gender expansive children and youth.
Although all youth in child welfare settings face challenges to their well-being, research shows that LGBTQ youth have poorer outcomes and face greater risks because of the impact of bias and rejection. These young people are often in the child welfare system because of severe trauma and rejection by family, peers, and community institutions solely because of how they identify or how others perceive them. It is often this stigma—and related physical and emotional abuse—that leads to youth running away and experiencing homelessness.
How We Do It
The getREAL (Recognize. Engage. Affirm. Love.) project works with child welfare agencies to ensure that attention is paid to planning for the healthy sexual and identity development of all children and youth. Along with race, ethnicity, and disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression (SOGIE) is part of the identity formation that occurs in adolescence. getREAL works to ensure that all young people feel valued and affirmed regardless of SOGIE.
getREAL has three core components: supporting site work, building and supporting a national network, and knowledge development for the field. Our ultimate goal is to create lasting policy and practice changes within the nation’s child welfare system to benefit LGBTQ and gender expansive youth.
We believe that all children deserve to have the best and strongest supports as they grow into adulthood. We hope that one day soon—the majority of child welfare systems will know, affirm, and support LGBTQ and gender expansive children, youth, and families.