Supporting LGBTQ Youth
The Supporting the Well-Being of System-Involved LGBTQ Youth Certificate Program is designed to help juvenile justice, child welfare, and other system partners target and improve outcomes for at-risk LGBTQ youth. The program will focus on the particular challenges faced by LGBTQ youth in child-serving systems (including juvenile justice, child welfare, education and behavioral health) as well as strengths and protective factors common to the population, and will highlight effective policy and practice reforms that promote positive youth development and take a holistic approach to addressing their needs.
Participants will receive instruction from national experts on the terms and concepts related to sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (SOGIE), and how to shape organizational cultures and approaches to support the safety and well-being of LGBTQ youth. This includes guidance on how to develop effective policies, training, and data evaluation efforts; better identify and effectively engage LGBTQ youth and their families; build community capacity to serve this population; and develop comprehensive and multi-faceted strategies and supports that promote positive youth development. Specific attention will be paid to the prevalence of multi-system involvement and compounding issues of implicit bias and stigma, racial and ethnic disparities, homelessness and commercial sexual exploitation of LGBTQ youth.
Upon completion of the Certificate Program and submission of an approved Capstone Project, participants will receive an Executive Certificate from Georgetown University, membership into CJJR’s Fellows Network, and ongoing support from the CJJR staff.
As part of the Certificate Program, participants are required to develop and implement a Capstone Project during the twelve-month period following the completion of their Certificate Program session. The Capstone Project is a set of actions each individual participant or team will design and undertake within their organization and/or community by applying their learning from the Certificate Program to initiate or continue collaborative efforts related to improving outcomes for system-involved LGBTQ youth. Learn more about Capstone Projects.
Tuition & Application
Tuition & Application
CJJR partnered with Impact Justice and the National Center for Lesbian Rights to provide the inaugural Supporting LGBTQ Youth Certificate Program, which was held October 17-20, 2017. Please check back in the future for 2018 Certificate Program dates and tuition information.
Tuition subsidies are available for participants with demonstrated financial need and with heightened readiness to utilize the curriculum to undertake changes in their local community. Read more about tuition.
Please direct any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Supporting LGBTQ Youth Certificate Program is designed for public and private sector leaders working in the juvenile justice, child welfare, mental health, substance use, education, and other related systems of care that serve youth involved in, or at risk of becoming involved in the juvenile justice system. Those who attend the program will be current and future leaders – individuals who are responsible for, and capable of, effectuating change. Participants can be from the local or state level, and may include individuals working on best practices for this population at the national level.
While individuals will be permitted, interested applicants are strongly encouraged to apply as a team to increase their ability to implement reform upon completion of the Certificate Program. Applicants are encouraged to form teams of no more than eight people. Ideally, teams will include the most senior juvenile justice professional in the jurisdiction and representatives from core partners including behavioral health and child welfare agencies, schools and community-based organizations.
Strongly recommended team members include:
- Juvenile justice agency director / most senior juvenile justice leader in the jurisdiction, and/or key juvenile justice management staff, such as Program Directors, Deputy Directors, facility management, etc.
- Leaders from partner agencies including child welfare, behavioral health, education, and community organizations focused on this population of children and youth
Recommended team members include:
- A judge or others from the court system
- Treatment providers
- Law enforcement
- Probation/Parole Officer
The exact composition of the team will depend on the specific goals of the team. Selection decisions will focus heavily on participants’ readiness for implementing reforms, assessed by asking applicants to summarize their role in past reform efforts, especially efforts that engaged leaders in other systems, and their agency’s relationship with other child-serving agencies. Applicants should identify the barriers they have experienced in undertaking this work, and what efforts they have taken to overcome those barriers. We are looking for participants who are seeking to build on their successes or overcome challenges, thereby being in a position to most benefit from the instruction and technical assistance they will receive during the Certificate Program and as Fellows. The strength of team composition will also be considered within the context of the goals of the team.
This program is NOT accepting applications from students who do not also hold a professional role in a child serving organization.
Curriculum & Instructors
Curriculum & Instructors
The 2017 curriculum included the following modules:
Module 1: LGBTQ/SOGIE 101 and Positive Youth Development
This session will provide an overview and facilitate a discussion of relevant terminology and social science research around the development of gender identity and sexual orientation, address myths and misconceptions, and review prevalence data around disparate treatment of LGBTQ youth in the juvenile justice system and other systems of care. This session will also explore the positive youth development approach to educating and engaging system-involved LGBTQ youth in productive activities and building competence, character, caring and connections to family, community and society.
This introductory session will serve as the foundation for the rest of the Certificate Program and will provide professional and legal standards of care governing services to LGBTQ youth in the JJ system, including a focus on the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA).
Perhaps the most important voice to be heard in a program of this nature is from the youth themselves. This session will consist of a panel of LGBTQ youth, who will share their lived experience and provide insight into how the caseworkers and systems they encountered best supported or failed to support them in their journey. Their input at this early stage of the program will provide context for the entire curriculum.
Module 3: Gender Identity and Expression
This module will discuss gender identity and expression as something that is different from sexual orientation. Instructors will take a deeper dive into data on gender nonconforming and transgender boys and girls in the juvenile justice system, and highlight policies and practices to protect and affirm transgender youth.
Module 4: Family Engagement
This module will provide an in-depth look at how to engage the families of LGBTQ youth as partners, particularly where there is stigma or lack of support due to a youth’s sexual identity or orientation. The session will include interventions to increase family acceptance of LGBTQ youth and family finding, and will focus on how to embed family-focused and strength-based approaches into agency policy and practice and ensure family is defined broadly and provided meaningful opportunity to be involved in planning and care for the youth.
Module 5: Multi-System Approach to Serving LGBTQ Youth
This module will provide instruction around the issues LGBTQ youth confront in the juvenile justice, child welfare, education and behavioral health systems, and related policy and practice implications. The module will have an overarching focus on promoting health and well-being, understanding risk and protective factors and utilizing a framework of positive youth development.
A panel of multi-disciplinary experts will discuss how to take a holistic approach to serving system-involved LGBTQ youth, including a focus on runaway and homeless youth, immigration, health care and law enforcement.
Module 6: Community Engagement
Establishing a community-based continuum of care can prevent LGBTQ youth from unnecessary penetration into the juvenile justice system, and collaborating with community-based organizations as partners is crucial to holding youth accountable while also providing needed services. This module will teach participants about developing and/or identifying a continuum of community-based services for LGBTQ youth. These approaches may support efforts to divert youth from system involvement, strengthen connections to pro-social supports, and promote successful community re-entry.
Module 7: Leading System Change
Culture change is a key component of reform. To successfully align organizational cultures with core, research-based values and principles that promote youth development, strong leadership is required. Navigating this process involves establishing a clear vision and mission that are reinforced by strong policies and procedures, supporting staff buy-in, and engaging partners and stakeholders to embrace and advance the work.
This module will pair a juvenile justice leader with the subject matter expert who helped develop their LGBTQ policy and practice. Instructors will discuss foundational elements of culture change in connection to their own experience with systems change.
2017 core program instructors included:
- Currey Cook, JD, Counsel and Director, Youth In Out-of-Home-Care Project, Lambda Legal
- Peter Forbes, Commissioner, Massachusetts Department of Youth Services
- Angela Irvine, Ph.D., Vice President and Director, Community Programs, Impact Justice
- Angie Junck, JD, Supervising Attorney, Immigrant Legal Resource Center
- Becca Mui, M.Ed., Education Manager, GLSEN
- Johanna Olson-Kennedy, MD, Pediatrician, Division of Adolescent Medicine and Medical Director, Center for Transyouth Health and Development, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
- Jerry Peterson, Executive Director, Ruth Ellis Center
- Carolyn Reyes, JD, MSW, Youth Policy Counsel, National Center for Lesbian Rights
- Ryan Shanahan, Ph.D., Research Director, Center on Youth Justice, Vera Institute of Justice
- Missy Mae Sturtevant, LCSW, Coordinator and Founder, MaeBright Group, LLC
- Jason Szanyi, JD, Deputy Director, Center for Children’s Law and Policy
- Harper Jean Tobin, JD, MSSA, Director of Policy, National Center for Transgender Equality
- Michael Umpierre, JD, Senior Research Fellow, Center for Juvenile Justice Reform, Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy
- Shannan Wilber, JD, Youth Policy Director, National Center for Lesbian Rights
- Rob Woronoff, MS, Probation Training Program Director, Workforce Development Stipend Programs, University of Southern California Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work