CDHS recognized by Human Rights Campaign Foundation for LGBTQ+ inclusion efforts

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DENVER (June 22, 2020) — The Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) Division of Child Welfare has received the Innovative Inclusion Seal of Recognition — the highest possible tier — from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation’s All Children-All Families (ACAF) program. Colorado’s Division of Child Welfare was recognized in the recent HRC Foundation report, Change-Makers in Child Welfare 2020, which focuses on the program’s partnership with 100 organizations across the country working to improve the services they provide to the LGBTQ+ community, including children and youth in foster care and prospective foster and adoptive parents. 

This is the second year in a row in which the Division of Child Welfare has earned the Innovative Inclusion Seal. Last year, the Division of Child Welfare became the first state-level entity to receive that recognition. Read the full report here.

“Our team has worked diligently over the past three years to implement innovative approaches to LGBTQ+ inclusion in key policy and practice areas to help LGBTQ+ youth and families thrive and grow,” said Minna Castillo Cohen, Director of the Office of Children, Youth and Families at CDHS. “We are proud to be recognized by the HRC Foundation, and we are dedicated to making policy and practice changes to improve the lives of some of our most vulnerable and marginalized children, youth and families.”

The Division of Child Welfare’s commitment to LGBTQ+ inclusion is especially important now as proposed rule changes and court decisions at the federal level could open the door to discriminatory practices. CDHS believes all children deserve a welcoming and affirming family and discriminatory policies are a threat to the rights of all Coloradans. This belief is why DCW participates in the HRC All Children-All Families program and has also made public comment on proposed Health and Human Services rule changes.

“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 current 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 policymakers pushing for progress during these challenging, unprecedented times.”

As young people across the country fight for racial equality after the murder of George Floyd, the HRC and child welfare organizations reflect on the systemic issues that cause both African Americans and LGBTQ+ youth to be over-represented in the foster care system and are acutely aware of the particular risks foster youth face due to COVID-19.

  • Up to 30% of youth in foster care nationwide 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.

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.

The Division of Child Welfare primarily focuses on the needs of Colorado’s at-risk, abused and neglected children and youth and their families. Colorado’s child welfare system is state supervised and county administered, of which there are 64 counties. The Division of Child Welfare oversees child welfare practice, provides policy direction, and provides 80% of the funding for services.

Media contact:
Madlynn Ruble, Deputy Director of Communications