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Children's Home Receives Highest Honor for Work with LGBTQ Youth

The Children's Home of Northern Kentucky earned "Innovator" status from the Human Rights Campaign, a Washington, D.C.-based organization focused on advancing equality issues for LGBTQ people.

The Covington-based organization's was noted for its CHNK Behavioral Health program, which was started in 2016.

It is now the first Kentucky agency to earn the HRC Foundation's All Children-All Families (ACAF) seal of recognition for its cultural competencies regarding youth and families who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender.

The innovator status is the top tier recognition.

CHNK’s new status was announced in the HRC Foundation’s Celebrating Everyday Change-Makers in Child Welfare, a first-of-its-kind report highlighting more than 70 organizations across the country that partnered with the HRC Foundation’s All Children - All Families (ACAF) project to improve the services they provide to the LGBTQ community, including children in out-of-home care and prospective foster and adoptive parents. The report also includes a profile of two of CHNK’s therapists, who discuss why working for an LGBTQ-affirming employer matters.

“CHNK Behavioral Health is firmly committed to addressing the sobering data that indicates that 92 percent of LGBTQ youth hear negative messages about their sexual orientation/gender identity and expression,” said CHNK Chief Executive Officer Rick Wurth. “Such messaging can have profoundly negative effects for young people who are searching for safe environments to access basic behavioral and mental health services, including addiction treatment.”

According to survey data presented in the 2018 Growing Up LGBTQ in America Report, only 49 percent of LGBTQ youth who participated in the national study felt optimistic about their chances of being happy if they remain in their existing city or town. Such feedback suggests serious barriers to hope and resiliency within a demographic who have higher adverse childhood experiences scores compared to the general population.

“CHNK’s achievement of top tier certification with All Children – All Families means one thing: youth and families in need of premier behavioral healthcare services can find allies, right here in the Northern Kentucky region, in a culturally competent environment,” Wurth said.

-Staff report