Cuyahoga County’s team is co-led by Kathleen Sullivan, Senior Manager for The Division of Cuyahoga County Children and Family Services (DCFS) and Kori Sewell, Supervisor of DCFS. Also providing oversight from DCFS will be Karen Anderson, Special Program Administrator. Cuyahoga is partnering with The LGBT Center of Greater Cleveland, The Waiting Child Fund, The Mandell School for Applied Social Sciences (MSASS) at Case Western Reserve University, and A Place 4 Me; a Jim Casey Youth Opportunity Initiative of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Together they will be implementing and evaluating a family finding intervention for youth with diverse SOGIE, developing a specialized group of highly trained foster homes to provide nurturing and affirming placements for this population, as well as developing and facilitating additional education opportunities for staff, youth, and caregivers.
“It is important that we create a safe, supportive environment for LGBTQ youth in the custody of DCFS,” said Cynthia Weiskittel, Director of the Division of Children and Family Services. “This calls for us to be diligent in addressing the unique risks and needs of these young people in our care.” Mike Kenney, Executive Director of Waiting Child Fund states, “The need for improved permanency services for LGBTQ youth in foster care has never been greater. The grant funding from the Quality Improvement Center is an incredible opportunity to partner with local and national agencies to ensure that all children are able to live with a chosen and affirming family.”