About This Program

Target Population: Child welfare agencies and their partners (including court personnel, lawyers, community provider agencies) serving children and youth ages (3-25) involved with child welfare system interventions and their parents, caregivers, and extended family

For organizations that serve children ages: 3 – 25

Program Overview

getREAL (Recognize. Engage. Affirm. Love) is designed to help transform child welfare policy and practice to promote the healthy sexual and identity development of all children and youth. Sexual orientation and gender identity and expression (SOGIE), along with race, ethnicity and disability, are part of the identity formation that occurs in adolescence.

Key steps for child welfare system transformation include:

  • Recognize: The first step is for child welfare agencies to recognize the need for policy guidelines to understand the critical importance of SOGIE in the healthy development of children and youth.
  • Engage: Youth must also be engaged in regularly talking about their SOGIE in normalized environments and conversation, much like talking about how they are doing in school, getting along with peers, etc.
  • Affirm: It is critical that youth regularly feel encouraged, validated, and supported as they continue on their developmental journey.
  • Love: In the end, the goal is for youth to be healthy, happy, and loved.

Program Goals

The goals of getREAL are:

  • Transform policy and practice to promote the healthy identity and sexual development for all youth served
  • Shift from using lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning (LGBTQ) in everyday communication to the SOGIE of all children and youth
  • Move to be inclusive and affirming of using SOGIE language and all types of SOGIE in the child welfare population
  • Work to have data collected at agency and partners about SOGIE to shape practice to ensure that children and youth experience affirmation and love for who they are, are supported in placements, and in their communities
  • Build the capacity to assess that the changes made have in fact improved the experiences and outcomes of children, youth, and families

Logic Model

The program representative did not provide information about a Logic Model for getREAL.

Essential Components

The essential components of getREAL include:

  • Distribution of information on Guidelines for Managing SOGIE data and determining what needs to change to implement guidelines to child welfare agencies, partner agencies, and key stakeholders
  • Technical assistance to child welfare agency leadership and other identified leaders:
    • Initial meetings with leadership and agreement and commitments to move forward with implementation
    • Ongoing review with leadership on system assessment, progress of implementation, and feedback on changes made
    • Orientation and ongoing engagement with stakeholders
    • Support development of tailored strategies to support the implementation of Guidelines
  • Training on SOGIE and components of a SOGIE-inclusive system:
    • Provide initial introductory training, if needed
    • Develop more in-depth curriculum with local partners, so that training supports good practice in that particular system
    • Support a train-the-trainer model so that there is capacity for local trainers to deliver the ongoing training
    • Work with local leaders to design training and engagement of key providers, including attorneys, staff, managers, etc.
  • Assessment of system through an Institutional Analysis (IA) qualitative review methodology—to understand the policies and practices that can support or derail getREAL implementation:
    • Review of quantitative data, if available
    • Training local team to conduct IA with our team
    • Case file reviews
    • Review of policies and protocols
    • Observations of child welfare and court practitioners
    • Interviews and focus groups with youth, families, caregivers, and various practitioners and stakeholders
    • Onsite debriefing of findings and identification of other interviews or policies and practices to review
    • Offsite analysis of data and report to leadership
  • Connection to peers and other resources in the getREAL national network:
    • Access to newsletters, webinars, etc.
    • Invitation to key convenings
    • Peer exchanges of information, tools, and experiences
  • Evaluation:
    • Based on a jurisdiction’s interest and current progress, there is the option for an evaluation based on an implementation science framework

Program Delivery

Recommended Intensity:

There is no preset level of intensity. Initial time and intensity is minimally monthly and mutually determined over time based on progress of implementation.

Recommended Duration:

Once the program is implemented, it is expected to be used on a continual basis.

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Community-based Agency / Organization / Provider
  • Justice Setting (Juvenile Detention, Jail, Prison, Courtroom, etc.)
  • Public Child Welfare Agency (Dept. of Social Services, etc.)


This program does not include a homework component.

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

  • Computers
  • Cell phones
  • Meeting space
  • Support personnel, including a local team that can lead the implementation
  • Ability to access case files
  • Ability to observe child welfare practice, court practice, etc.
  • Leadership team access
  • Child welfare operating manuals, protocols, and other appropriate documents available for review
  • Ability to interview and do focus groups with youth, families, child welfare providers, lawyers, judges, and other appropriate groups
  • Ability to pull child welfare data about children and youth
  • Ability to change child welfare data systems to collect SOGIE data

Manuals and Training

Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications

No specific requirements other than the degree and experience required by the agencies and systems where the program is implemented

Manual Information

There is not a manual that describes how to deliver this program.

Training Information

There is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
Training Type/Location:

The training is co-designed or exclusively designed by the jurisdiction with consultation by our staff.

Number of days/hours:

The number of days and hours of the training is part of the co-design work with the jurisdiction

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

Currently, there are no published, peer-reviewed research studies for getREAL.

Additional References

Martin, M., Down, L., & Erney, R. (2016). Out of the shadows: Supporting LGBTQ youth in child welfare through cross-system collaboration. Washington, DC: Center for the Study of Social Policy. Retrieved from

Washburn, M., Good, M., Lucadamo, S., Weber, K., Bettencourt, B., & Dettlaff, A. J. (2018). Yes we can Allegheny: Implementing SOGIE inclusive system improvements in child welfare. Child Welfare, 96(2), 99-124.

Weber, K., & Bettencourt, B. (2021). Welcoming, affirming, supporting: Child welfare systems must honor the WHOLE child. Center for the Study of Social Policy.

Contact Information

Kristen Weber,, JD
Agency/Affiliation: Center for the Study of Social Policy
Phone: (202) 371-1565

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: September 2019

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: September 2021

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: November 2019