AFFIRM.ME. Program

Arrirm Me LogoThe AFFIRM.ME program is a set of services developed specifically to improve the lives of LGBTQ2S youth in foster care.

DCFS collaborated with Kinnect and Case Western Reserve University to design services that will improve placement stability, well-being, and permanency for children and youth with diverse Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE). Services include: 
  • Safe and Confidential Identification – DCFS staff and partners work to create a safe and welcoming environment for children and youth to self-identify as LGBTQ2S so they can receive the support and affirming placement services they need, while keeping their SOGIE confidential if they choose to.
  • Pride Caregiver Network DCFS is seeking foster parents and kinship caregivers who are open and eager to care for a young person who identifies as LGBTQ2S to provide a safe and supported experience while in foster care. These caregivers will receive additional training, attend support groups, and act as mentors to other foster parents.
  • Chosen Affirming Family DCFS and Kinnect work with biological families of youth involved with DCFS to provide education, support, and repair family relationships.  When needed DCFS and Kinnect also work to identify permanent families for LGBTQ2S youth so they can have a supportive and affirming forever family.
For more information on the AFFIRM.ME program contact Kathleen Sullivan at or our recruitment department at 216-881-5775.

Girl sitting on front end of car with hood openWhy AFFIRM.ME?

Children and youth with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions are at greater risk for: 
  • physical and emotional abuse,
  • drug use,
  • suicide attempts,
  • mental health concerns,
  • homelessness, interpersonal and/or community violence,
  • bullying,
  • harassment,
  • academic challenges,
  • increased school sanctions, and
  • discrimination 
While 3-8% of youth in the U.S. identify as LGBTQ, approximately 19% of youth in child welfare identify at LGBTQ.  When in the child welfare system they are less likely to be reunified with their families of origin, often have more foster care placements, more likely to be in congregate care, and more likely to age out without a support system in place. Youth who age out of foster care without a support system are more likely to become homeless, victims of human trafficking, become incarcerated, and have other negative outcomes. 

Affirm.Me. is funded by the National Quality Improvement Center on Tailored Services, Placement Stability and Permanency for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, and Two-Spirit Children and Youth in Foster Care (QIC-LGBTQ2S) at the University of Maryland Baltimore School of Social Work. The QIC-LGBTQ2S is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau under grant #90CW1145. The contents of this document do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the funders, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.