Impact of Anti-LGBTQ Policies on Children and Families

We have seen a surge in states passing anti-LGBTQ policies, affecting access to health care, student athletes, gender-specific places and programs, school curriculums, and more. These policies affect families’ and children’s safety, health, and mental health – not just for those directly affected, but for all children and families as research shows that welcoming, safe spaces improve mental health and academic outcomes for all children.

What can funders to do push back against this wave of anti-LGBTQ policies? Why is it happening now?

Child & Adolescent Mental Health

In October, the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Children’s Hospital Association issued a joint Declaration of National Emergency in Child and Adolescent Mental Health. Families’ experiences during the pandemic have made clear that children and families are struggling. This struggle isn’t new, though. Children and adolescents have been facing a mental health crisis for some time. Now, there are new policies, tools, and programs that can help us support families and kids. This conversation explores who is affected by the crisis and the myriad ways that funders can provide much-needed support.

Academic Achievement Post-Pandemic

The pandemic stresses children and the education system, making gulfs out of pre-existing gaps in academic achievement. The education system was imperfect before, with some children thriving while others fall increasingly far behind. Over the last two years, some families and children found systems and processes that facilitated their learning, but for most children and families, education during the pandemic led to fewer gains, decreased self-confidence, and much parental strife. Through this conversation, we will explore the data and what funders can do to not only help children catch up, but to close the gaps between those that succeed in our current system and those that do not.

Environmental Justice & Climate Change

Where children are born, raised, and educated matters. Children need healthy homes, free of toxins and pollution, access to green space, clean air and water, and refuge from extreme heat to thrive. Climate change strains our efforts to meet these goals by increasing air pollution and the rate of natural disasters, especially fires and floods. Families in poverty or with other medical conditions are notably at risk.

Facing a changing climate can feel daunting, but there is a lot that children’s funders can do, starting with the sense of urgency and power that youth bring to the issue. This conversation introduces children’s funders to a variety of ways they can get involved by building youth decision making processes; focusing on children’s mental health; making safer, healthier educational facilities, and more.

Future of Child Care

The upside of the pandemic for child care is increased attention and calls for support. This is an opportunity for funders to help reshape the field and create a system that is more equitable, affordable, and accessible for all families. The downside is that pre-existing problems (an unsustainable business model, questions around quality, professionals not earning a living wage, and more) that once were cracks in the system are now fissures. This conversation explores a new vision for what child care could be and how we can work together to achieve it.

Policy Discussions

How did the 2018 elections at the national and state levels impact opportunities to improve the lives of children and families? The new environment provides the chance for charitable foundations to assess the policy and program landscape and look for new windows of opportunity to work strategically and collaboratively to improve the lives of children and families.