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Pride Month: Promoting inclusion and acceptance of all individuals

Pride Month in June is a time to recognize the significant and positive impact LGBTQ individuals are making in our communities, and raise awareness of the challenges that remain for LGBTQ youth and adults as they strive to live life as their authentic selves. 

Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health stands firmly alongside LGBTQ individuals, not only to help eliminate discrimination that exists in our society today, but to evolve our culture from one of tolerance … to acceptance … to affirmation. 

“Everyone deserves to be treated equally – with respect, dignity and compassion – regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression,” said Devereux Senior Vice President and Chief Clinical/Medical Officer Yolanda Graham, M.D. “At Devereux, we want to ensure every child, adolescent and adult in our care feels welcomed and safe to express themselves openly and without judgement.” 

Recognition from the Human Rights Campaign

In 2020, 10 Devereux centers were recognized by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the leading LGBTQ rights and advocacy group in the U.S., for supporting and serving LGBTQ youth and families. 

The following centers achieved the HRC’s All Children – All Families Tiers of Recognition noted below:

  • Devereux Arizona – Innovator Seal
  • Devereux Colorado Building Tier
  • Devereux Connecticut – The Glenholme School – Building Tier
  • Devereux Florida Innovator Seal
  • Devereux Georgia Solid Tier
  • Devereux Massachusetts/Rhode Island – Innovator Seal
  • Devereux New Jersey – Building Tier
  • Devereux New York – Building Tier
  • Devereux Pennsylvania CIDDS Foster Care Solid Tier
  • Devereux Texas Solid Tier 

The HRC’s All Children – All Families initiative provides a comprehensive framework for organizations to establish best practices that welcome, support and affirm LGBTQ foster and adoptive parents. Achieving recognition from the HRC requires an organization to examine every aspect of care – from admissions paperwork to supports and services.

"The Human Rights Campaign is grateful to Devereux for a long and productive partnership spanning more than 10 years when Devereux Arizona first joined our All Children – All Families program,” said Alison Delpercio, MSW, director of the HRC’s All Children – All Families initiative. “Since then, Devereux’s leadership team has continued to demonstrate an unwavering commitment to LGBTQ inclusion across its national operations. These efforts are truly transforming and saving the lives of LGBTQ children and families, and Devereux should be very proud of this critically important work." 

Graham also noted, “We are honored and thrilled to be recognized by the HRC for our ongoing efforts to implement policies and practices across our organization that promote equality and acceptance. Achieving this recognition is a testament to our employees’ commitment to providing compassionate and culturally competent care to the individuals and families we serve.”

Embracing the Gender Affirmative Model

As Devereux continues its efforts to become one of the most welcoming, inclusive and diverse behavioral healthcare organizations in the U.S., the nonprofit is making great strides in implementing the American Psychological Association’s Gender Affirmative Model. The Gender Affirmative Model is the emerging best practice treatment of choice for transgender and gender-expansive youth and adults, focusing on resilience, coping and wellness.

Since adopting the model in 2019, Devereux has:

  • Developed a national policy that sets clear standards for the care and treatment of gender-diverse individuals;
  • Rolled out a gender support plan to inform its clinicians on how best to support individuals in home, school or community-based settings;
  • Trained all clinical directors on the Gender Affirmative Model and LGBTQ best practices, and developed an online training for all new employees;
  • Increased recruitment efforts with LGBTQ foster parents;
  • Incorporated pronouns into employee emails and badges; and
  • Updated corporate policies and employee benefits to better support gender-inclusive standards of care. 

“Recognizing and celebrating our differences is what makes us stronger,” Graham explained. “By embracing the Gender Affirmative Model at Devereux, we are creating an environment where team members – as well as the individuals and families we serve – feel safe and supported. This model will help those in our care understand and express who they are, and develop the social and emotional skills needed to thrive in their homes, schools and communities.” 

Learn more about Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health’s efforts to support the LGBTQ community.


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