WEST HARTFORD – Jewish Family Services of Greater Hartford (JFS) and JFS Care at Home have become the state’s first organizations to earn the Getting it Right LGBT Inclusivity-Advanced level certification, it was announced recently at an event attended by State Senator Beth Bye and State Representative Andrew Fleischmann. The program includes actions and resources to help organizations adopt practices of intentional inclusion for LGBT elders.
“I want to congratulate JFS and JFS Care at Home for going the extra mile to ensure that everyone in Connecticut – everyone, regardless of race, creed, color or sexual orientation – has access to the health care they may need,” said Bye. “True to their tradition of care and compassion, JFS has chosen to focus on an often-overlooked segment of our population.”
Fleischmann agreed, adding, “Connecticut Community Care’s recognition of Jewish Family Services for its inclusivity is terrific and well-deserved. Jewish Family Services and JFS Care At Home (JFS) train all their staff to understand the importance of being open and inclusive to the LGBT community and all people. JFS ensures that every person in their world – employees, clients, partner organizations, community members – understands the importance of inclusivity. And they work to make sure that this open, welcoming culture is sustained day-in and day-out, for every person whom they touch. JFS provides a great model of caring and inclusivity for all of our homes and workplaces – congratulations!”
To become certified, agencies must adopt proactive and ongoing practices that go beyond current standards and policies of non-discrimination. Participating organizations embrace intentional inclusivity, defined as a collection of specific practices, such as cultural sensitivity training for staff, adoption of public messaging about inclusivity, and program sustainability measures.
“Many LGBT people do not know where to turn when they are in need of care at home or counseling services,” said Patricia Kiely, Director, JFS Care at Home. “LGBT seniors may feel they have to hide their sexual or gender identities to feel safe when a caregiver comes into their home.”
“When our clients reach out for help, whether with JFS Care at Home or Jewish Family Services, they are often feeling vulnerable enough, without having to concern themselves with LGBT stigma,” said Anne Danaher, executive director Jewish Family Services. “By becoming certified in ‘Getting It Right’, and demonstrating LGBT competence through trainings and visibility, people in the LGBT community will know they are safe and welcome in our agencies.”
CAP: Showing off the LGBT certificate awarded to JFS of Greater Hartford and JFS Care at Home and Jewish Family Services of Greater Hartford are (l to r): West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor; Patricia Kiely, director of JFS Care At Home; Nancy Lichtenberg, LCSW; Senator Beth Bye.