The Youth Acceptance Project (YAP)
About This Program
Target Population: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning (LGBTQ) and gender expansive children and youth ages 3–21 years old who are involved in the child welfare system and their families.
For children/adolescents ages: 3 – 21
For parents/caregivers of children ages: 3 – 21
The Youth Acceptance Project (YAP) serves the families of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning (LGBTQ) and gender expansive children/youth in foster care. The intervention serves as a family preservation or reunification tool, assisting families who are struggling with the sexual orientation, gender identity/expression of their child. This intervention’s aim is to move families to a place of acceptance by using a trauma-informed, psychoeducational model to address the misinformation and emotions with which families often struggle. The intervention is designed to reduce the time that children spend in foster care and reunite children with their families. YAP is a program of Family Builders, a nonprofit foster family and adoption agency, which provides direct services to counties in the Bay Area. The agency also provides a training and consultation model to jurisdictions outside the Bay Area to implement this program in their community. The services are designed to prepare clinicians to deliver culturally informed, SOGIE (sexual orientation gender identity/expression) competent support services and includes an intensive multiday training as well as ongoing consultation.
The goals of Youth Acceptance Project are:
For LGTBQ+ children/youth:
- Prevent removal from family and entry into the child welfare system
- Reunify with family
For parents/caregivers of LGBTQ+ children:
- Prevent them from inflicting harm on their LGBTQ+ child and causing the child’s removal and entry into the child welfare system
- Reduce the amount of time their LGTBQ+ child is in out-of-home care
- Reunify with their LGBTQ+ child
- Learn about LGBTQ+ and gender expansive children
- Learn about misconceptions about sexual orientation and gender identity and expression
- Learn about the well-being and permanency of LGBTQ+ and gender expansive children and youth, especially for caregivers in out-of-home care
View the Logic Model for The Youth Acceptance Project (YAP).
The essential components of Youth Acceptance Project include:
- Utilizes 3 phases in serving the families who struggle to accept their LGBTQ+ and gender expansive children:
- Helps parents to understand that their child’s SOGIE is a journey.
- Sensitively approach to engaging families to address and support families navigating the journey from rejection to acceptance of their LGBTQ+ children.
- Engages families through a sensitive approach that is designed to address and support families navigating the journey from rejection to acceptance of their LGBTQ+ children.
- Explores specific education and planning interventions when intensive fear and grief fuel persistent rejection.
- Builds safety through empathy, rapport, and meaningful collaboration to attend to the emotions - namely grief, guilt, and fear - that families are experiencing.
- Views parents/caregivers not as “rejecting” or “affirming” but that rejecting and affirming behaviors exist on a spectrum from which social workers will guide their approach.
- Recognizes that all families have strengths, upon which service providers can build.
- Works within the intersection of SOGIE, race, and all other identities (i.e., cultural, socioeconomic, faith etc.).
- Provides education to foster care and congregate care staff about the well-being and permanency of LGBTQ+ and gender expansive children and youth.
- Social workers applying this approach are charged with helping parents/caregivers acknowledge and cope with a range of emotions as they come to terms with their child’s gender, expression, and/or sexual orientation journey.
- Understands the legal mandates supporting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, and Gender Expansive children.
- Uses specifically designed tools for this model to:
- Assess the level of acceptance of parents/caregivers of LQBTQ+ children.
- Assess the needs and strengths of LQBTQ+ youth.
The Youth Acceptance Project (YAP) directly provides services to children/adolescents and addresses the following:
- LGBTQ+ children/adolescents who are at high-risk of being placed/already placed in foster care or congregate care, depression, anxiety, suicide ideation, running away, bullying.
The Youth Acceptance Project (YAP) directly provides services to parents/caregivers and addresses the following:
- At high risk of having/already have their LGBTQ+ child placed in foster care or congregate care; experiencing grief, fear, and guilt due to their child’s SOGIE; anxiety; significant relationship and communication issues; parent of LGBTQ+ child/adolescent who runs away; parent of LGBTQ+ child/adolescent experiencing suicide ideation.
Services Involve Family/Support Structures:
This program involves the family or other support systems in the individual's treatment: Program involves the family or other support systems in the individual’s direct services: YAP supports the involvement of extended family members and chosen family. Family does not have to be biologically related, but instead encompasses all adults and siblings the young person and/or their family would like involved in their life. Establishing a network of support is important in this model as it may provide some relief for both youth and parents/caregivers.
A minimum of one weekly 50-minute session with caregiver/parent(s) and a 50-minute session with the youth, or as needed.
12 months to 18 months, however intervention can be longer depending on the level of acceptance of the family toward their LGBTQ+ child, or shorter.
This program is typically conducted in a(n):
- Adoptive Home
- Birth Family Home
- Community Daily Living Setting
- Foster / Kinship Care
- Community-based Agency / Organization / Provider
- Group or Residential Care
- Justice Setting (Juvenile Detention, Jail, Prison, Courtroom, etc.)
- School Setting (Including: Day Care, Day Treatment Programs, etc.)
- Virtual (Online, Telephone, Video, Zoom, etc.)
This program does not include a homework component.
The Youth Acceptance Project (YAP) 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:
The ability to travel to the family and/or have the technology to meet with the family via telehealth.
Manuals and Training
Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications
A minimum of a master’s degree in social work, psychology, counseling, or related field are best qualified to deliver the YAP intervention.
There is a manual that describes how to deliver this program.
Program Manual Information:
Family Builders. (2021) Youth Acceptance Project Practice Manual. Author. Can be accessed by contacting the YAP program director: Vida Khavar, firstname.lastname@example.org
There is training available for this program.
- Vida Khavar
phone: (818) 458-4050
Training is generally provided at the trainee’s organization or online, as needed.
Number of days/hours:
Training is 20 hours. Formal support for YAP is required and is in the format of technical assistance and coaching at a minimum of 2x/month for the first 6 months and 1x/month once purveyor has assessed that provider(s) is proficient in the utilization of the tools, has satisfied fidelity measures, and developed skills to provide the model as it is intended.
Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research
Currently, there are no published, peer-reviewed research studies for The Youth Acceptance Project (YAP).
Family Builders. (2021). Family Builders’ Youth Acceptance Project. https://familybuilders.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/YAP-descriptions-stats-stories-.pdf
- Vida Khavar
- Website: familybuilders.org
- Email: email@example.com
- Phone: (818) 458-4050
Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: October 2021
Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: November 2021
Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: December 2021