A Culture of Open Communication

A culture of open communication allows organizations to identify and address challenges that exist for LGBT2SQ children and youth and collectively create solutions to address them. Everyone involved in the child welfare system should be encouraged to bring forward concerns and to speak openly without fear of reprisal about discrimination that is taking place within their organization.

LGBT2SQ children and youth, in particular, can offer insight into how well the child welfare system and individual services are meeting their needs, and how they can be improved. Children and youth should have opportunities to talk about their experiences knowing that it is safe to do so, to be believed when they do, and to see positive results when they speak up.

Child welfare leaders should strive to actively create an organizational culture that is committed to ongoing learning and training opportunities, and feedback from openly listening to critiques of current practices, and being non-judgmental.

Organizations can take a number of steps to facilitate feedback from workers, caregivers, children and youth, which include drop boxes for comments, anonymous surveys, and regular informal meetings where everyone in the organization is welcomed and encouraged to participate. Emphasis on confidentiality and anonymity, and the need to consider the dynamics of power imbalances when designing these feedback processes will help contribute to a willingness to openly participate.

RESOURCE: Opening up the lines of communication