Panel Paper: Providing Human Services to LGBT People: Case Studies of Programs for Runaway and Homeless Youth

Friday, November 8, 2013 : 2:15 PM
Boardroom (Ritz Carlton)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Andrew Burwick, Mathematica Policy Research
This presentation will focus on an ongoing study supported by the Administration for Children and Families, the Research Development Project on the Human Service Needs of LGBT Populations. Key topics and questions the project is exploring include:
  • Socioeconomic characteristics and risk factors of LGBT populations. What do available data indicate about the social and economic risk factors that LGBT populations face? How do these risk factors differ among subgroups of the LGBT population (e.g., people of color, transgender people, youth)? What hypotheses about human service needs can be drawn from currently available data?
  • LGBT populations’ use of human services and potential barriers to access. What is known and unknown about the proportion of people using specific services who are LGBT? What do we know about LGBT people’s experiences with federal human services programs, particularly those funded by ACF?
  • Strategies for meeting the human services needs of LGBT populations. What models, if any, exist for assessing and addressing the specific needs of LGBT individuals and families in human services programs? How do providers collect and use data on LGBT clients? What is known about the successes and challenges that providers have experienced in addressing barriers to access and serving LGBT populations?
  • Research opportunities and priorities. What are key knowledge gaps regarding LGBT populations and human services? What data need to be collected to better understand the human service needs of LGBT populations, and what methods could be adopted for doing so? Which research opportunities should ACF prioritize?

The project centers on three program-and-policy domains: (1) low-income LGBT populations and family economic security programs, (2) LGBT populations in child welfare and adoption systems, and (3) LGBT youth (especially runaway and homeless youth and youth) and programs to support them. It is also giving special consideration to cross-cutting issues related to LGBT populations of color, transgender populations, and data collection and measurement of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.

The study is relying on multiple data sources and methods, including a literature review, consultations with an expert panel, site visits to providers of services to homeless and runaway LGBT youth, interviews with representatives of ACF program offices and select state and local social service agencies, and secondary data analyses.

This paper will present early project findings on human service needs and experiences among LGBT populations, key knowledge and data gaps, and options for research to enhance the knowledge base in this area.