SF State News {University Communications}

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New program to support LGBT youth

December 11, 2008 -- The Family Acceptance Project (FAP) at the Cesar Chavez Institute was awarded $499,993 in matching funds from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to increase family acceptance of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transsexual (LGBT) youth. FAP Founder and Director Caitlin Ryan will work with Child and Adolescent Services at San Francisco General Hospital/UCSF, as well as community groups and multi-ethnic families to develop the first comprehensive intervention approach for family-related support of LGBT youth.

"Too many times in our work with LGBT youth and families, we've seen providers who could have made a critical difference if only they had the tools to help families support their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender children," Ryan said. "We've found that ethnically diverse families are eager for information and advice when they learn that their children are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender."

Ryan said that family support is critical to the physical and psychological health of LGBT youth. Ryan's groundbreaking research shows that family rejection significantly increases risk for many serious health and psychological problems, while family acceptance protects against risk and promotes well-being. The Project is recruiting native-level Cantonese-speaking and Spanish-speaking social workers and community providers to help develop the approach.

Family Acceptance Project

"This new family-related approach will strengthen families and help many LGBT youth in their homes who would otherwise end up on the street, in foster care or the juvenile justice system," Ryan said.

Current matching gift supporters for the project include the Tides Foundation/Out-of-Home Youth Fund, Johnson Family Foundation, Lewy Gay Values Fund at Horizons Foundation, Morris Family Foundation, Ray and Dagmar Dolby Family Fund, as well as the Mount Zion Health Fund and an anonymous fund of the Jewish Community Endowment Fund. Additional matching funds are being sought for the second and third years.

"This support will help us provide critical services that will make a difference in the lives of LGBT young people and their families in our community and across the country," Ryan said. "We're grateful to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Tides Foundation's Out-of-Home Youth Fund and our other funding partners for supporting our work."

Founded in 2002, the Family Acceptance Project is the only initiative of its kind to study the effects of acceptance and rejection on LGBT adolescents. Results are used to strengthen families, develop appropriate programs and policies, and train health and child welfare providers regarding LGBT youth. The Cesar Chavez Institute is home to research and initiatives devoted to educational, social and health equity.

For more information about the Family Acceptance Project visit: http://familyproject.sfsu.edu/

-- Denize Springer


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