Research Development Project on Human Service Needs of LGBT Populations, 2012-2013

Project Overview

OPRE, supported by a contract with Mathematica and the Williams Institute, in coordination with the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), conducted extensive work to identify knowledge gaps and propose research recommendations related to the human service needs of low-income and at-risk lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender populations.

This project consisted of three components. The first component was a “research needs assessment,” which focused on identifying data gaps to better understand the human service needs of low-income and at-risk lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) families, children, individuals, and communities. The assessment aimed to determine what is known and what needs to be learned in three general areas: (1) socioeconomic characteristics and risks among LGBT populations, (2) their current participation in human services, and (3) strategies for serving these populations effectively. ACF programs address a wide range of human services and at-risk populations; thus, to focus the needs assessment further, the project concentrated on three key ACF program-and-populations domains: (1) low-income LGBT populations and programs to support economic security, (2) LGBT populations and the child welfare system, and (3) LGBT youth and programs to support them. The research team used a variety of methods to conduct the assessment, including developing an annotated bibliography on LGBT populations and human services, consulting with a 13-member expert panel and representatives of ACF program offices, conducting secondary data analyses, and interviewing staff at agencies providing human services to LGBT people.

The second component developed recommendations for future research stemming from the “research needs assessment.” The recommendations reflect the three key ACF program-and-populations domains, and were drafted in consultation with the expert panel and ACF program offices.

Reports and briefs from the first two components are in drafted and expected to be posted in late 2014.

The third component was a special study of providers serving runaway and homeless LGBT youth. The research team visited four Runaway and Homeless Youth Program grantees to explore whether and how they collect and use data in providing services to LGBT youth, success and challenges in removing barriers to service access and addressing the needs of this population, and perceptions of key data or information gaps regarding the human service needs of homeless LGBT youth. A report from the sub-study was published in early 2014.

The point of contact is Seth Chamberlain.