Social Workers and Lambda Legal Partner to Better Serve Out of Home Youth

Jun 9, 2008

June 9, 2008

Social Workers and Lambda Legal Partner to Better Serve Out of Home Youth

Washington – The National Association of Social Workers Foundation (NASWF) and Lambda Legal have partnered to improve out of home care for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.

The Tides Foundation provided the grant funding to build the capacity, awareness and skills of social workers and other child welfare professionals to better serve the needs of LGBTQ youth living in foster care, juvenile justice centers and homeless shelters. NASW will develop and launch a national train the trainer initiative for social workers and others in both public and private settings to meet the needs of LGBTQ youth in care.

This population of youth in out of home care are particularly vulnerable to physical or emotional abuse, depression, rape, unethical “conversion therapies,” prostitution, substance abuse and suicide. Because of these reasons, NASW and Lambda Legal feel it is imperative to train professionals to be responsive to the needs of LGBTQ youth.

“Social workers play a significant role in the care that LGBTQ youth receive and it is imperative that we are sensitive to their needs,” says Dr. Elizabeth Clark, president of the NASW Foundation. “This program reflects the profession’s commitment to children and families and LGBTQ issues.”

NASW will create a training of the trainer curriculum and model program specifically addressing LGBTQ youth. Master trainers will go back to their home communities to train social worker and other child welfare professionals. This training will inform social workers and others about special ethical and practice considerations central to working with LGBTQ youth.

“‘LGBTQ youth are over-represented in out-of-home care facilities,” said Flor Bermundez, staff attorney with Lambda Legal’s Youth in Out-of-Home Care Project. “It is essential that social workers and practitioners are trained in how best to serve them.”

In a separate but related project, the Council on Social Work Education and Lambda Legal will survey schools of social work to identify the field’s “best practices” in preparing social workers to serve LGBTQ youth respectfully. The results of this survey will be used to employ these “best practices” within social and educational programs.

For more information about initiatives of the NASW Foundation, please visit

About the NASW Foundation

The National Association of Social Workers Foundation (NASWF) is a charitable organization created in 2001 to enhance the well-being of individuals, families and communities through the advancement of social work practice. The Foundation administers a wide variety of educational and research programs in an effort to fulfill its core mission. The Foundation is funded by voluntary contributions from NASW members and other supporters.

About Lambda Legal

Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.