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Issues of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression in Child Welfare - Part 1: Youth, Parent, and Worker Perspectives
-February 4, 2014

In this webcast, Dr. Mallon speaks with three people – a gay youth, a parent of a transgender child, and a staff person – who share their experiences and perspectives as they relate to sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, child welfare, and child/youth well-being:

  • Cici, a 20 year old young person, shares experiences: in foster care, with an adoptive family that didn’t work out, with biological family members, coming out, dealing with people’s reactions to Cici's gender expression, and hopes and dreams for the future.
  • Lahoma, the mother of Tracy*, a nine year old, male to female transgender child, discusses the process of learning about Tracy’s gender identity and supporting her in her development, including facilitating her transfer to a new school after she experienced repeated bullying which was dismissed by school administrators.
    *Name has been changed for the webcast to protect her privacy.
  • Amber, the LGBTQ Family Advocate for the Youth Acceptance Collaborative at Family Builders, discusses her work with families and child welfare workers to help them support LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning) children/youth, as well as her work with LGBTQ children/youth in the child welfare system. (See Amber’s bio below.)

Presenter Bio
  • Amber Merziotis joyfully joined Family Builders in April 2013 as the LGBTQ Family Advocate for the Youth Acceptance Collaborative. Amber studied Counseling Psychology with a specialization in somatic psychology from John F. Kennedy University. Amber is passionate about using a holistic approach when working with clients. She combined her passion and training by completing her traineeship at the Center for Holistic Counseling, where she chose to specialize in working with members of the LGBTQ community. Through this amazing experience, Amber knew she had found her “life’s work” which is to be a vehicle of support and change for members of the LGBTQ community. Amber’s other counseling experiences include providing individual and family therapy to youth in both a school-based outpatient and day treatment setting and crisis counseling.

  • NRCPFC Hot Topic Webpage: LGBTQ Children and Youth in Child Welfare
    This section of the NRCPFC website contains resources on LGBTQ children and youth in the child welfare system from:  ACF, the Children’s Bureau, and T/TA Network; collaborating organizations; and, the States. Resources include publications, research/reports, information packets, PowerPoint presentations, webinars, webcasts, videos, toolkits, trainings, and curricula. Links to relevant websites are also provided.
  • Family Builders
    Family Builders helps to find permanent, loving families for children and youth in the foster care system. They connect children with individuals and couples who can provide safe, stable, nurturing families. Their services are free and confidential, and include adoption, foster care, and other forms of permanency. Family Builders offers a variety of programs, including a program focused on older youth permanency and a program to prepare people to become foster or adoptive parents to LGBTQ youth.
  • Gender Spectrum
    Gender Spectrum provides education, training and support to help create a gender sensitive and inclusive environment for all children and teens.

*The NRCPFC curriculum on "Competent Practice in Working with LGBTQ Youth in the Child Welfare System" referenced in these webcasts is not yet available online. It's coming soon! When the curriculum is available, it will be announced in NRCPFC's Weekly Update.