Youth Acceptance Project (YAP)
In collaboration with the Youth Acceptance Project (YAP) developed by Family Builders, the Coalition has joined forces to offer specialized support for families caring for LGBTQ+ children. YAP aims to address the unique stressors related to the child’s sexual orientation or gender identity/expression (SOGIE) and create a more supportive and accepting home environment. YAP specialists employ a trauma-informed, psychoeducational approach to assist families in navigating common challenges, such as misinformation, resistance, fear, and grief.
YAP’s approach is rooted in research that highlights the detrimental effects of family rejection on LGBTQ+ children. The program provides direct support to both children and their families, offering validation and guidance to navigate complex emotions. By promoting affirming care and dispelling unhelpful myths, YAP cultivates an environment of support and understanding for families and their children. Through personalized programs and referrals, families embark on a transformative journey to embrace and affirm their child’s identity and unique needs.
- Residency in St. Louis City, as well as the counties of St. Louis, St. Charles, Franklin, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Warren.
- Foster/adoptive/guardianship parent(s).
- LGBTQ+ youth impacted by foster care between the ages of 3 and 21.
What to Expect
The YAP program begins by establishing a relationship with the caregiver and child during the engagement phase. This initial connection enables specialists to understand the family dynamics and the child’s disclosure status regarding their SOGIE. Caregivers are then assessed to gauge their emotions of grief, fear, and guilt surrounding their child’s SOGIE, which forms the foundation for their personalized YAP care plan. Once goals are established, interactive and solution-focused training and consultations are provided as needed to implement the care plan effectively.
The primary objective of the YAP Program is to foster learning and personal growth within families, empowering them to become affirming and advocacy-driven caregivers for their LGBTQ+ child(ren). This approach acknowledges and responds to the unique experiences of each family, considering their cultural, religious, and racial backgrounds, with the aim of preserving placements, promoting reunification, and minimizing stressors that could negatively impact the mental health and well-being of the child(ren). Upon completion of the YAP program and training, LGBTQ+ children typically experience fewer suicide attempts, instances of running away from home, and self-harm behaviors. Additionally, there is a reduction in risky behaviors and an increase in educational continuity.
Hannah Woods – Director of Family Works
1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
YAP Inquiry Form