The getREAL project focuses specifically on child welfare systems, but also touches the homeless and juvenile justice systems. We work closely on developing and identifying policies and practices that support LGBTQ+ and gender expansive youth involved in child welfare systems. Our work is grounded in an anti-racist intersectional frame and we intentionally focus on supporting the whole youth in the entirety of their identity.
We work to:
Support state efforts—to collect data, build capacity to support the healthy sexual and identity development of all youth, and scale efforts for a broader reach.
Build and support a national peer learning network of organizations concerned about the well-being of LGBTQ+ and gender expansive youth in the child welfare system for information-sharing and advocacy efforts.
Develop and share knowledge about tools, strategies, practice, and policies that are promising or have been shown to be effective when working to support the healthy sexual and identity development of children and youth.
Develop policies that are anti-racist and intersectional and that support and affirm LGBTQ+ children, youth, and families involved in public systems
Guidelines for Managing Information Related to Sexual Orientation and Gender Expression and Identity of Children in Child Welfare Systems, a publication created by the getREAL collaborative, was field-tested in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. CSSP and the Department of Human Services in Allegheny County engaged in a six-year process to implement the Information Guidelines and align policy and practice to support effective future implementation. This effort was evaluated by the Graduate School of Social Work of the University of Houston with the intention of generating knowledge useful for other jurisdictions and the field at large (evaluation report to be released summer 2020).
getREAL California is an ongoing initiative that is a partnership among CSSP, Family Builders by Adoption, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the RISE Initiative of the Los Angeles LGBT Center with goal of integrating a SOGIE framework the Continuum of Care Reform effort and other system change efforts, including the recent move to mandate SOGIE data collection in child welfare statewide.