An exciting evolution of LGBTQ parenting programs at Sherbourne Health
As a program of Sherbourne Health, the LGBTQ Parenting Network has steadily served the unique needs of LGBT2SQ parents, their children and those who are considering parenthood for well over a decade. Continuing its legacy of providing practical, impactful programming and supports to its service users, the program is evolving to focus on information and referral services and capacity building, as an integrated approach to Sherbourne’s broader offering of LGBT2SQ programs and health services. To better reflect this evolution, in the coming months, the services provided by the LGBTQ Parenting Network will fully operate under the LGBT2SQ Communities Team and be referred to as “Parenting and Family Resources, LGBT2SQ Communities.”
These enhancements were informed by both a comprehensive program evaluation and a Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (QTBIPOC) needs assessment. The program evaluation captured the perspectives of the program’s stakeholders, such as parents, service partners, current and former staff, and senior leaders via online surveys and key informant interviews.
Based on this feedback, we have actively implemented a number of recommendations, including engaging more deliberately with racialized communities, and contracting racialized facilitators to revamp the family planning courses and develop new resources.
Today, we continue to build on takeaways from the program evaluation and QTBIPOC needs assessment through closer integration with Sherbourne Health’s services.
By aligning across Sherbourne’s LGBT2SQ Communities Team, our Parenting and Family Resources will be able to collaborate effectively with programs and direct services like Supporting Our Youth (SOY), a collection of health and wellbeing focused programs and services for LGBT2SQ youth and young adults, primary care, Trans and Non-Binary Programs, and our social support and mental health groups for LGBT2SQ adults.
We will implement key changes over the next few months to support the transition of Parenting and Family Resources under the LGBT2SQ Communities Team. This includes:
- The creation of a dedicated role of Family Resource Worker (FRW) to facilitate our offering of LGBT2SQ Parenting and Family Resources: The FRW will continue to work directly with service users to offer information and education, referrals to resources, social support, and health promotion activities to meet the unique needs of LGBT2SQ parents and families.
- The adaptation of fundamental components of family planning courses to virtual learning: Select content will be developed and offered virtually via Rainbow Health Ontario (RHO)’s online learning platformLGBT2SQ Health Connect. With the transition to a community program model and staffing changes, as well as the complexities due to COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to adapt our services to online supports in order to provide essential care to our communities.
- Transitioning the LGBTQ Parenting Network website out of being an active standalone web property and integrating some of its content and resources into the RHO website where appropriate: This will keep relevant content still accessible and better integrate Sherbourne’s LGBT2SQ parenting information with other LGBT2SQ content and resources produced by Sherbourne and its programs.
- The incorporation of informational resources, research and advocacy, and education and training into supports for health service providers: This will be led by RHO as part of Sherbourne’s comprehensive services for LGBT2SQ parents, families and communities.
We are excited to bring about these ongoing enhancements to our Parenting and Family Resources, LGBT2SQ Communities at Sherbourne Health. By continuing to evolve and adapt to ongoing client needs, we aim to ensure that knowledge, information, resources and support continue to remain effective, accessible and relevant to the program’s many diverse service users within the LGBT2SQ parenting communities.