HRC Partners with 100 Child Welfare Orgs in New Report

Human Rights Campaign Foundation Recognizes Friends in Adoption for LGBTQ-Inclusion Efforts

May 29, 2020: Today, Friends in Adoption (FIA), a non-profit, fully inclusive adoption agency, proudly announces that it is being recognized in Change-Makers in Child Welfare 2020 — a report highlighting the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation’s All Children – All Families (ACAF) program’s partnership with organizations across the country working to improve the services they provide to the LGBTQ community.

Since its inception in 1982, FIA was one of the pioneer agencies in welcoming all families to adoption and from its early years has promoted adoption by qualified adoptive parents regardless of their sexual orientation. Out of the 100 participating organizations in the report, FIA was one of 39 child adoption agencies in the United States receiving the highest “Tier of Recognition” as Innovative inclusion. According to HRC, FIA “met all 25 criteria and is going beyond to innovate their services for LGBTQ youth and families.”

Download the complete report as a PDF file

Alphonso David, President, Human Rights Campaign Foundation (He/Him/His)
Alphonso David, President, Human Rights Campaign Foundation (He/Him/His)

The Change-Makers in Child Welfare 2020 — also highlights children in foster care and prospective foster and adoptive parents. “Today, children in foster care are facing a national crisis on top of a personal crisis. Our work to end anti-LGBTQ discrimination in child welfare is more important than ever,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “The organizations highlighted in this report are working with the Human Rights Campaign to ensure anti-LGBTQ bias does not get in the way of life-saving services for children and families. This work is more acute given the Trump-Pence administration’s relentless attacks on LGBTQ people and other marginalized communities. We hope the stories shared in the report provide hope and inspiration to the children, as well as the policy makers pushing for progress during these challenging, unprecedented times.”

In order to participate in the HRC program, FIA conducted an internal self-assessment, provided professional development to staff and implemented ACAF’s “Benchmarks of LGBTQ Inclusion,” which track policy and practice changes within agencies. There are three “Tiers of Recognition,” which celebrate the strides agencies have made toward becoming fully LGBTQ welcoming and affirming.

  • Innovative Inclusion: 39 organizations, which includes FIA, met all 25 criteria and are going beyond to innovate their services for LGBTQ youth and families
  • Solid Foundation for Inclusion: 28 organizations met all 25 applicable policy and practice criteria for LGBTQ inclusion
  • Building Foundation for Inclusion: 27 organizations met foundational criteria, including non-discrimination protections

Friends in Adoption (FIA) is a non-profit, pro-choice, licensed adoption agency with a focus on helping people make informed decisions concerning adoption. FIA is committed to open adoption, inclusiveness, and providing lifelong support to all members of the adoption triad.

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the educational arm of America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

Friends in Adoption Recognized by HRC Foundation for LGBTQ Inclusion Efforts

From Our Blog Archives: June 26, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 26, 2019

FRIENDS IN ADOPTION

Contact: Diana, info@friendsinadoption.org

Website: www.friendsinadoption.org

Friends in Adoption Recognized by HRC Foundation for LGBTQ Inclusion Efforts

DATELINE — Today, Friends in Adoption, a not-for-profit, licensed adoption agency providing adoption services in the U.S.A., proudly announced that it is being recognized in Celebrating Everyday Change-Makers in Child Welfare — a first-of-its-kind report highlighting more than 70 child welfare agencies across the country that partnered with the HRC Foundation’s All Children – All Families (ACAF) project to improve the services they provide to the LGBTQ community, including children in foster care and prospective foster and adoptive parents. These organizations serve more than 350,000 clients annually in 23 states, and employ nearly 11,000.

Friends in Adoption is largely known as “FIA”, an acronym that also stands for Fully Inclusive Agency. “Inclusiveness means that FIA respects all members of the adoption triad and does not discriminate against prospective birth or adoptive family members on the basis of race, ethnicity, marital status, age, religion, physical disability, income, sexual orientation, or gender identity/expression (SOGIE). Inclusiveness means treating all people with equality. It means in the circle of adoption, birth or first parent(s) are respected as equal to adoptive parent(s) regardless of SOGIE. It means among prospective adoptive parent(s) they are respected as equally eligible to become qualified adoptive parent(s). We respect the uniqueness of each individual and welcome diversity within the circle of adoption!”, stated FIA’s inclusiveness page on FIA’s website.

“Thousands of committed professionals — from frontline workers to executives — know that LGBTQ youth are perfect just the way they are and that removing barriers for potentially qualified LGBTQ foster and adoptive parents is in the best interest of children,” said Alison Delpercio, Director of the HRC Foundation’s All Children – All Families Project. “While some of these agencies are taking their first steps toward inclusion and others have been leaders in innovating new approaches, more agencies should look to the policies and practices these organizations are implementing to protect against anti-LGBTQ discrimination and meaningfully engage their communities.”

All Children - All Families Innovator Seal
FIA has been recognized in Celebrating Everyday Change-Makers in Child Welfare — partnered with the HRC Foundation’s All Children – All Families (ACAF) project to improve the services they provide to the LGBTQ community, including prospective foster and adoptive parents.

The agencies featured in this report conducted an internal self-assessment, provided professional development to staff and implemented ACAF’s “Benchmarks of LGBTQ Inclusion,” which track policy and practice changes within agencies. Celebrating Everyday Change- Makers features three “Tiers of Recognition,” which celebrate the strides agencies have made toward becoming fully LGBTQ welcoming and affirming.

  • Building a Foundation for Inclusion: 14 organizations
  • Solid Foundation for Inclusion: 25 organizations
  • Innovative Inclusion: 32 organizations

This work could not be more important. LGBTQ youth are overrepresented in foster care and face increased risk of both negative experiences and outcomes:

  • Up to 30% of youth in foster care are LGBTQ;
  • LGBTQ youth are twice as likely to report being treated poorly as their non-LGBTQ peers while in care;
  • LGBTQ youth have a greater average number of placements than their non-LGBTQ peers;
  • LGBTQ youth are more likely than their non-LGBTQ peers to be placed in congregate care, including group homes.

Since 2007, hundreds of child welfare agencies across the U.S. have used ACAF’s resources to enhance their efforts to achieve safety, permanency and well-being for LGBTQ youth and families. This new effort marks a major step toward improving the services provided to LGBTQ youth and prospective parents.

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the educational arm of America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

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Friends in Adoption is a Fully Inclusive Adoption Agency
Friends in Adoption is a Fully Inclusive Adoption Agency

Press Release: “FIA receives HRC’s All Children – All Families Seal of Recognition”

From Our Blog Archives: February 6, 2014

FIA is a leader in supporting and serving LGBT families
FIA receives HRC’s All Children – All Families Seal of Recognition. From let: The Loretto Family; Liz, Elizabeth, Olivia and Nan; Dawn, Julia, Liliana and Isabella

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: 1-800-982-3678

info@friendsinadoption.org

Friends in Adoption receives HRC’s All Children – All Families Seal of Recognition

The Loretto family is one of the many LGBT families who adopted with the help of Friends in Adoption
The Loretto Family: Conio (Daddy), Cliff (Papa), Grace (age 8), Jackson (4) and Mason (3): “Our
family was built with the help of Friends in Adoption.” — Photo by Kimberly Drennen Harripersad
Dawn, Julia, Liliana, Isabella at P-town
Dawn Smith-Pliner, Friends in Adoption (FIA) Founder and Director, enjoying a hot day in Provincetown, MA, with FIA children, Julia,Liliana and Isabella, all of whom were adopted by same-sex couples.
FIA family, Liz, Elizabeth, Olivia and Nan
From left: Baby Olivia and her moms, Elizabeth and Liz, give FIA’s team member Nan a hug at the 2013 annual picnic. — Photo by Jean-Charles DeOliveira
Friends in Adoption founder and director, Dawn Smith-Pliner (right), with the DeMasi-Hilderbrand family
Friends in Adoption founder and director, Dawn Smith-Pliner (left), with the DeMasi-Hilderbrand family: parents Steven and Michael and their sons Evan and Kai.” — Photo by Jean-Charles DeOliveira
FIA is a recognized leader in supporting and serving LGBT families
Friends in Adoption (FIA) recently received the Human
Rights Campaign Foundation’s All Children – All Families Seal of Recognition as a 2014 Leader in
Supporting and Serving LGBT Families.
A link with High Resolution versions of the photos shown is available at the bottom of this article.

Download High Res Images

Poultney, VT, February 6, 2014 — Friends in Adoption (FIA), a licensed, non-profit adoption agency, recently received the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s All Children – All Families Seal of Recognition as a 2014 Leader in Supporting and Serving LGBT Families. Since its inception in 1982, FIA was one of the pioneer agencies in welcoming all families to adoption and from its early years has promoted adoption by qualified adoptive parents regardless of their sexual orientation. Upon learning about the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC) All Children – All Families cultural competency certification, FIA enthusiastically signed on to participate.

“It was an absolute pleasure and privilege to coordinate FIA’s efforts to achieve HRC’s All Children – All Families Seal of Recognition. This accomplishment is in keeping with the Agency’s, as well as my own and my FIA colleagues’ personal, commitment to equality. Together and individually, we will continue to look for every opportunity to create a more fair and just world,” said Beth Miller, Friends in Adoption staff member who coordinated FIA’s participation in the initiative.

The All Children – All Families project “provides a framework for agencies to achieve safety, permanency and well-being by improving their practice with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth and families. Participating agencies work to meet ten key Benchmarks of LGBT Cultural Competency – from client non-discrimination policies and inclusive agency paperwork, to staff training and creating an LGBT-inclusive agency environment.” FIA completed a required self-assessment, made improvements to policies and procedures, and took part in informative staff training. In January 2014, FIA had met all ten key Benchmarks of LGBT Cultural Competency.

“In 2013, the All Children – All Families initiative “raised the bar” for ACAF participation by modifying some of its benchmarks. Friends in Adoption is one of the first adoption agencies to be granted the ACAF seal under the new, more stringent benchmarks. We are thrilled to welcome Friends in Adoption into the community of child welfare organizations that are truly committed to creating more loving families by removing barriers to qualified LGBT adoptive parents. It is wonderful that LGBT individuals and couples have another trusted resource to turn to when pursuing adoption,” said Ellen Kahn, director of HRC’s Children, Youth, and Families Program and a professional social worker.

Friends in Adoption (FIA) is a non-profit, pro-choice, licensed adoption agency with a focus on helping people make informed decisions concerning adoption. FIA is committed to open adoption, inclusiveness, and providing lifelong support to all members of the adoption triad. Friends in Adoption was founded in 1982 by an adoptive mother, Dawn Smith-Pliner, who saw that the many needs of adoptive families and birth parents were not being met in adoption situations. From its inception, FIA has been committed to compassionate treatment for all parties involved in an adoption plan. Friends in Adoption does not discriminate against prospective birth or adoptive family members on the basis of race, ethnicity, marital status, age, religion, physical disability, income, sexual orientation, or gender identity/expression.

Press Release Related Files For Download:

Photo: The Loretto Family - High Res JPG File

Photo: Dawn with FIA children - High Res JPG File

Photo: Baby Olivia with her two moms - High Res JPG File

Photo: Dawn with Demasi-Hilderbrand Family - High Res JPG File

Photo: Friends in Adoption Logo - High Res JPG File

Photo: HRC's All Children - All Family Logo - High Res JPG File

Press Release - Adobe Acrobat PDF File

Press Release - Microsoft Word Doc File

FIA and HRC: All Children – All Families

From Our Blog Archives: November 12, 2013

Friends in Adoption (FIA) was one of the pioneer agencies in welcoming all families to the family of adoption and from its early years has promoted adoption by lesbian and gay parents. Upon learning about the Human Rights Coalition (HRC) All Children – All Families cultural competency certification, FIA enthusiastically signed on to participate.

HRC’s All Children – All Families project “provides a framework for agencies to achieve safety, permanency and well-being by improving their practice with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth and families. Participating agencies work to meet ten key Benchmarks of LGBT Cultural Competency – from client non-discrimination policies and inclusive agency paperwork, to staff training and creating an LGBT-inclusive agency environment. Once these benchmarks are met, the agency is designated a ‘Leader in Supporting and Serving LGBT Youth and Families’ and awarded the All Children – All Families Seal of Recognition.”

FIA has completed its self-assessment, made improvements to our policies and procedures, has taken part in some informative and important staff training, and is very nearly complete in meeting all ten key Benchmarks of LGBT Cultural Competency. We look forward to being able to post a Seal of Recognition very soon! For more information, visit the Human Rights Campaign All Children – All Families project page. Stop back for an update!

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