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Local and Statewide Initiatives on Working With LGBTQ Youth

National CASA recognizes the unique challenges that LGBT youth in care face. We conducted interviews with four programs across the country to learn about their initiatives to better advocate for LGBT youth in care. How did they start? What resistance did they face? How have they been successful? We invite you to start a conversation in your community. 

Ann Marie Foley Binsner

Ann Marie Foley Binsner, Executive Director
Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA)/Prince George’s County, Hyattsville, MD

Inspired by a challenge delivered during a National CASA Conference workshop, the CASA program partnered with other service providers and public entities to form an LGBT task force in 2006. Within four months of starting, the group had trained all CPS, foster care and adoption staff. In total, more than 1,000 people have accessed the LGBT training - including all county police officers!

Read about the Prince George’s County LGBTQ Task Force, created with the goal for youth to have a safe community to grow and thrive.

Jacqueline Wilson

Jacqueline M. Wilson, Program Operations Director
Louisiana CASA in Baton Rouge, LA

By keeping the focus on the best interests of youth in care and their outcomes, and off of religious ideology and personal beliefs, Louisiana CASA is creating awareness positive awareness among professionals and CASA volunteers.

Read about their LGBTQ Task Force and their work with Lambda Legal.

Deborah Sutton

Deborah Sutton-Weiss, CEO
CASA for Riverside County, Indio, CA

Through improved screening and training of volunteers, working collaboratively with community and statewide organizations, and creating a more welcoming organization, CASA for Riverside County is seeing results three years into its initiative to better serve LGBT youth in care.

Read about their challenges and successes.

Laurie Johnson

Laurie Lehmker Johnson, Executive Director
CASA Mississippi, Gulfport, MS

CASA Mississippi embarked on an LGBT initiative when they started seeing an increase in the number of youth coming out to their volunteers, family members and foster parents. Since then, the organization has made great strides toward becoming more welcoming and helping volunteers understand the challenges LGBT youth in care face.

Read about how CASA Mississippi has utilized the “Moving the Margins” curriculum and a video “For the Bible Tells Me So” to train advocates in rural Mississippi.

 

The US Department of Justice has supported CASA advocacy since 1985 through its Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
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