RISE (Recognize, Intervene, Support, Empower)

About This Program

Target Population: LGBTQ+ (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer/Questioning plus others in this community) children/youth 5-17, their caregivers (resource parents, biological parents and biological or chosen families, etc.), and professionals and paraprofessionals who serve these children/youth

For children/adolescents ages: 5 – 17

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 5 – 17

Program Overview

RISE (Recognize, Intervene, Support, Empower) is a dual-intervention program consisting of direct services for children/youth and their caregivers, and capacity building support for providers. With RISE, staff in organizations and systems of care are taught how to:

  • Recognize that they have LGBTQ+ youth in their care
  • Intervene during instances of bias, harassment, and discrimination
  • Support LGBTQ+ youth in their care
  • Empower their organization and staff to create affirming environments and provide appropriate care for LGBTQ+ youth

Each of these actions is designed to increase the likelihood that LGBTQ+ youth will achieve permanency. At the core of RISE is the belief that with skilled, thoughtful, and targeted interventions, LGBTQ+ youth can achieve permanency and positive outcomes in safe and loving homes.

Program Goals

The goals of RISE (Recognize, Intervene, Support, Empower) are:

    For LGBTQ+ Children and Youth:

    • Increase self-esteem and wellness
    • Develop permanent relationships with kin, adoptive, and chosen families

    For caregivers and family (biological, extended, foster, chosen):

    • Increase support and acceptance of LGBTQ+ and gender nonconforming children and youth

    For professionals and paraprofessionals:

    • Increase permanency options for LGBTQ+ children/youth
    • Decrease bias, harassment, and discrimination in care

Logic Model

The program representative did not provide information about a Logic Model for RISE (Recognize, Intervene, Support, Empower).

Essential Components

The essential components of RISE (Recognize, Intervene, Support, Empower) include:

  • Care Coordination Team (CCT) Intervention:
    • Originally designed as an individual- and family-based intervention with components that have been adapted for groups
    • Group-based support groups facilitated by CCT staff (can be co-facilitated by child welfare or clinical staff) for the following groups:
      • Caregivers of LGBTQ+ youth or children
      • LGBTQ+ youth or children
      • Siblings of LGBTQ+ youth or children
    • Individual and family therapeutic services on-site or at location convenient for recipient(s) (e.g., at home, in community, etc.)
    • Identification and linkage to safe and affirming care in local community
    • SOGIE (Sexual orientation gender identity and expression)-based case management support including:
      • Legal advocacy
      • Placement identification and stabilization
      • Aftercare
    • Engagement:
      • Motivation and empowerment of all the adults in the child's or youth's sphere to recognize the child or youth
      • Recognition of the adults' strengths, resources, and needs in a manner that is affirming and sensitive to the child/youth's SOGIE
    • Collaborative Teaming:
      • Internal and external complementary process to engagement where collaboration takes place between the child/youth, adults surrounding the child/youth, and professionals to support the child/youth's SOGIE and meet the shared goal of permanency
      • Work cooperatively and share responsibility for developing, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating a plan of care
    • Strengths & Needs-based Plan of Care:
      • The development of an individualized plan that takes into consideration the needs of the child/youth and the adults surrounding them
      • Increasing understanding and support for the child/youth's SOGIE and permanency needs
    • Expand Connections:
      • The identification of biological and chosen family members who are affirming and safe
      • The expansion of community supports so the youth/child can achieve emotional and legal permanency
    • Increase SOGIE Education & Support:
      • The increase of understanding, knowledge, and support for a child/youth's SOGIE for biological and chosen family members through one-on-one information sharing, education, coaching, and providing access to specialists and specialized services
      • A respectful process that takes into account the adults' culture and belief system while emphasizing the needs of the LGBTQ+ child/youth
  • Outreach and Relationship Building (ORB) Team Intervention:
    • In-person and online training for professionals and paraprofessionals engaged in systems of care including but not limited to:
      • Child welfare
      • Juvenile justice
      • Mental health
      • Education
    • Over 30 discrete modules addressing core, intermediate, and advanced SOGIE competencies including but not limited to:
      • Terminology
      • Coming-out
      • Policy and procedure
      • Commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC)
      • Reproductive health
      • Healthy relationships
      • Implicit bias
      • Management and supervision
    • Specialized in-person and online trainings for caregivers to:
      • Increase knowledge of LGBTQ+ identities
      • Decrease antigay bias
      • Decrease antitransgender bias
      • Decrease heterosexism
    • Technical assistance for:
      • Case-carrying staff
      • Policy adoption and/or revision
      • Organizational change assistance
    • Coaching online and in-person to strengthen SOGIE knowledge and skills at the following levels:
      • Individual
      • Agency
      • Functional
      • Regional
      • Group level
    • Agency/community of care implementation

Program Delivery

Child/Adolescent Services

RISE (Recognize, Intervene, Support, Empower) directly provides services to children/adolescents and addresses the following:

  • Problems that may arise from being LGBTQ+ which can include being at higher risk of child welfare system, juvenile probation, and/or homeless services involvement due to being abused, bullied, or kicked out of the home, depression, running away from foster or kin care (AWOL-ing), low self-esteem, isolation, poor academic performance, anxiety, and gender dysphoria

Parent/Caregiver Services

RISE (Recognize, Intervene, Support, Empower) directly provides services to parents/caregivers and addresses the following:

  • Caring for an LGBTQ+ youth/child and poor understanding of LGBTQ+ characteristics
Services Involve Family/Support Structures:

This program involves the family or other support systems in the individual's treatment: Education, family strengthening, and linkage services are open to anyone identified by the child/youth as a current or potential connection including: siblings, teachers, providers not involved in the case, etc.

Recommended Intensity:

Though both CCT and ORB should be offered, they have different audiences and therefore different recommended intensities. CCT (direct services): Weekly or bi-weekly 1-2-hour engagements, in addition to other case activities (e.g. CFTs). ORB (system-level): In addition to comprehensive integration of agency practice, monthly coaching and recurring training.

Recommended Duration:

Though both CCT and ORB should be offered, they have different audiences and therefore different recommended durations. CCT (direct services): Varies according to duration of child welfare case. ORB (system-level Upon full adoption of training and coaching protocols, comprehensive integration of agency practice and continued use is expected.

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Birth Family Home
  • Community Daily Living Setting
  • Foster / Kinship Care
  • Community-based Agency / Organization / Provider
  • Group or Residential Care


This program does not include a homework component.


RISE (Recognize, Intervene, Support, Empower) has materials available in a language other than English:


For information on which materials are available in this language, please check on the program's website or contact the program representative (contact information is listed at the bottom of this page).

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

Though both CCT and ORB should be offered, they have different audiences and therefore different recommended resources.

CCT: Team facilitator, family finder, youth specialist, family advocate, and clinician; physical space appropriate for individual/family therapy; physical space(s) to accommodate support group(s)

ORB: ADA compliant room to accommodate interactive sessions for up to 30 individuals; minimum of two training instructors; computer, projector, and speaker

Manuals and Training

Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications

No education requirements or qualifications are necessary.

Manual Information

There is a manual that describes how to deliver this program.

Program Manual(s)

Phillips, L., Parrish, L. Khavar, V., Rodriguez, E., & Islas, A. (2016). 2016 RISE project care coordination team program manual.http://files.lalgbtcenter.org/pdf/rise/Los-Angeles-LGBT-Center-RISE-Care-Coordination-Services-Program-Manual.pdf

Weeks, A., Irons, A., Parrish, L., Altman, D., Stevens, A., Vitorino, S., & Hsu, A. (2016). 2016 RISE project outreach and relationship building program manual (Vol. 1).http://files.lalgbtcenter.org/pdf/rise/Los-Angeles-LGBT-Center-RISE-Outreach-Relationship-Building-Program-Manual-Vol1.pdf

Weeks, A., Irons, A., Parrish, L., Altman, D., Stevens, A., Vitorino, S., & Hsu, A. (2016). 2016 RISE project outreach and relationship building program manual (Vol. 2).http://files.lalgbtcenter.org/pdf/rise/Los-Angeles-LGBT-Center-RISE-Outreach-Relationship-Building-Program-Manual-Vol2.pdf

Weeks, A., Irons, A., Parrish, L., Altman, D., Stevens, A., Vitorino, S., & Hsu, A. (2016). 2016 RISE project outreach and Relationship building program manual (Vol. 3).http://files.lalgbtcenter.org/pdf/rise/Los-Angeles-LGBT-Center-RISE-Outreach-Relationship-Building-Program-Manual-Vol3.pdf

Weeks, A., Irons, A., Parrish, L., Altman, D., Stevens, A., Vitorino, S., & Hsu, A. (2016). 2016 RISE project outreach and relationship building program manual (Vol. 4).http://files.lalgbtcenter.org/pdf/rise/Los-Angeles-LGBT-Center-RISE-Outreach-Relationship-Building-Program-Manual-Vol4.pdf

Training Information

There is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
Training Type/Location:

Trainings are provided on a rolling basis regionally and can be provided onsite or at the requesting agency

Number of days/hours:

Trainings vary in length: 5 consecutive days (40 hours) standard with additional 40 hours optional, but highly recommended

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

Lorthridge, J., Evans, M., Heaton, L., Stevens, A., & Phillips, L. (2018). Strengthening family connections and support for youth in foster care who identify as LGBTQ: Findings from the PII-RISE evaluation. Child Welfare, 96(1), 53-78.

Type of Study: One-group pretest-posttest
Number of Participants: 23


  • Age — 5-17 years (Mean=16 years)
  • Race/Ethnicity — Not specified
  • Gender — 85% identified as cisgender (57% Male and 30% Female) and 17% identified as gender expansive
  • Status — Participants were youth who were in the child welfare system and self-identified as gay or lesbian or as gender nonconforming, and were either (1) a dependent of the court; (2) had dual foster care/probation status with child welfare as the lead agency; or (3) were nonminor dependents in extended foster care who were eligible for Care Coordination Team (CCT) services.

Location/Institution: Not specified

Summary: (To include basic study design, measures, results, and notable limitations)
This article reports findings from the Recognize, Intervene, Support, Empower (RISE) intervention [now called RISE (Recognize, Intervene, Support, Empower)]. Measures utilized include the Connections Map (CM), the Permanent Connections Inventory Youth (PCIY), the Emotional Permanency Survey (EPS), the Supporting/Rejecting Perceptions Survey (SRPS), and the Supporting/Rejecting Attitudes Scale (MHI) (SRAS). Results indicated at follow-up, most youth had greater connection or reconnections with supports. Results also found that most youth were connected to an adult providing a permanent, parent-like relationship and were living with an adult who was a potential adoptive parent or legal guardian. Limitations include nonrandomization of subjects, small sample size, modifications made to the quantitative measures may have affected instrument validity, and reliance on self-reported measures.

Length of controlled postintervention follow-up: Approximately 1 year.

The following studies were not included in rating RISE (Recognize, Intervene, Support, Empower) on the Scientific Rating Scale...

Weeks, A., Altman, D., Stevens, A., & Lorthridge, J. (2018). Strengthening the workforce to support youth in foster care who identify as LGBTQ+ through increasing LGBTQ+ competency: Trainers' experience with bias. Child Welfare, 96(2), 125-150.

Note: This article is not used able to be considered when rating this program because it does not use the whole intervention. This article discusses the Los Angeles LGBT Center's Recognize, Intervene, Support and Empower (RISE) Initiative's [now called RISE (Recognize, Intervene, Support, Empower)] training evaluation; trainers' experiences with bias, and the impact that participant bias had on the delivery of the Outreach and Relationship Building (ORB) intervention. Measures utilized the Frequently Encountered Bias Questions and Statements tool, surveys that focused on terms and scenarios illustrating knowledge acquisition and a web-based follow-up survey that assessed the extent to which participating child welfare professionals utilized any knowledge gained, and why participants were or were not utilizing this knowledge. Results indicated after initial training on youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ), staff need coaching and follow-up training to effectively address and reduce the mistreatment of this population in child welfare settings and decrease anti-LGBTQ+ bias. Limitations include nonrandomization of subjects, small sample size, lack of validated measurements, only one component of the RISE intervention was used in this study, and lack of follow-up.

Additional References

Hatch, T. (n.d.). New reports highlight human service needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, & transgender populations. https://youth.gov/feature-article/new-reports-highlight-human-service-needs-lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender

Los Angeles LGBT Center. (2018, November 25). LGBTQ foster youth find help at the center, LGBT News Now. https://lgbtnewsnow.org/lgbtq-foster-youth-find-help-at-the-center/

Mink, C. (2018, March 26). Doctor's notes: LGBTQ kids are over-represented in foster care, but LA County is working to make sure they're no longer overlooked. https://www.calhealthreport.org/2018/03/26/doctors-notes-lgbtq-kids-represented-foster-care-la-county-working-make-sure-theyre-no-longer-overlooked/

Contact Information

Ariel Bustamante, BA
Agency/Affiliation: Los Angeles LGBT Center
Website: rise.lalgbtcenter.org/youth-and-family-services
Phone: (323) 860-3608

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: October 2019

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: August 2019

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: December 2019