The new SOGIE center promotes the well-being of LGBTQ + youth and families


Baltimore, Maryland. – Recent studies have revealed an over-representation of young people with diverse sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (SOGIE) in child protection and juvenile justice systems, but programs and services designed to respond to needs of this population are difficult to locate. There has been significant progress in meeting the needs of young people involved in public systems – child welfare, juvenile justice, mental health, drug addiction, Medicaid, housing and homelessness – and this new center provides a center for exchange essential for these efforts. Led by the Institute for Innovation and Implementation at the University of Maryland School of Social Work (The Institute), the National SOGIE Center brings together the latest tools, training and other data-driven resources. evidence, as well as consultation, for those who work in public. systems serving young people.

SOGIE National Center for the Promotion of the Well-Being of LGBTQ + Youth and Their Families

“This national hub is a centralized place for the latest and greatest resources to serve LGBTQ + youth and their families. If it’s not on our site, contact us and we’ll make sure you get the best help available, ”said the director of the SOGIE National Center. Angela Weeks, DBA, MA.

Public systems that serve young people and their families, such as child welfare and juvenile justice, are not designed to meet the needs of LGBTQ + youth and their families. A recent study found that LGBTQ + youth are overrepresented in a Midwestern foster care system at 3 times the rate of the general population. This study, combined with two previous studies in Los Angeles and New York, highlights the nationwide disproportion of LGBTQ + youth in foster care. Other studies have found similarities in the juvenile justice system. Due to insufficient programs and services specifically designed to meet their needs, combined with years of oppression and stress from minorities, LGBTQ + youth continue to face increased rates of depression, anxiety and suicide.

Despite these results, there has been no coordinated national approach to implement best practices and policies to meet the needs of LGBTQ + youth involved in public service systems, nor a centralized library of well-documented methods to address to their needs. The SOGIE National Center will fill this gap.

The majority of LGBTQ + youth involved in public systems are Black, Indigenous, and Latinx. The SOGIE National Center is dedicated to enhancing the intertwined harms of systemic racism and homophobia and understanding the impact of this oppression on the well-being of LGBTQ + youth.

“We need to move the field forward, beyond our tunnel vision of what identity means, to understand how racism, transphobia and homophobia affect the outcomes of young people and families. This is the basis. on which we build our work, ”Weeks said.

The SOGIE National Center hosts resources and training on responsible identification of LGBTQ + youth through data collection; implement emerging best practices for providing services to LGBTQ + youth and their families, and free training for staff on understanding SOGIE. The Center highlights the best recent resources developed by partner organizations and provides technical assistance for evolving policies and practices. While this new collaboration focuses primarily on resources for policy makers and the workforce, the Center also includes resources for young people and their families through a new website designed by the Family Acceptance Project and the Institute.

“We are here to help systems develop approaches to ensure that LGBTQ + youth can stay with their families and in their communities, to help families learn to support and assert their LGBTQ + youth, and to help systems to no harm, ”said Marlene Matarese, PhD, principal researcher, SOGIE National Center.

The partner organizations that make up the SOGIE National Center include youth advocates, racial justice organizations, higher education institutions and direct service organizations. Many of them are leading work across the country on advocacy, policy, funding, systems design, intervention design, implementation, evaluation and direct care services. for young people and their families within public child, youth and family service systems. They all share a sense of urgency to address the needs of LGBTQ + youth in systems and their families.

These partner organizations, in addition to the Institute, include Affirmative Research Collaborative, Family Builders, Human Rights Campaign Foundation, Human Service Collaborative, Judge Baker Children’s Center, Ruth Ellis Center, National Center for Lesbian Rights, Family Acceptance Project, The Center for the Social Policy Study and Youth MOVE National.

“The HRC Foundation is proud to be a partner in the vital work of the SOGIE National Center. The health and well-being of LGBTQ + youth is a high priority in our work. While the last few years have seen progress; it remains difficult for LGBTQ + youth and their families to access the care they need. We are delighted to support the Centre’s mission to remove barriers to care and ensure equitable treatment and outcomes for LGBTQ + youth, ”said Ellen Kahn, Senior Director of Programs and Partnerships at HRC.


About the Institute for Innovation and Implementation

The Institute for Innovation and Implementation (The Institute), founded in 2005, is part of the School of Social Work at the University of Maryland. The Institute is committed to creating research-based, inclusive, culturally appropriate and transformative child, youth and family service systems and services for children, youth and families, and to building the capacity of the workforce. work within these systems. We do this work in partnership with government agencies, health care providers, youth and their families, and community organizations to improve outcomes for and with children, youth and their families.


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