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Always My Son is one of a series of short documentary films that are being produced by the Family Acceptance Project to help ethnically and religiously diverse families decrease their LGBT children’s risk for suicide, substance abuse, depression, HIV, homelessness and placement in foster care or juvenile justice settings — by increasing family support.

The Family Acceptance Project™ is the only community research, intervention, education and policy initiative that works to decrease major health and related risks for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth, such as suicide, substance abuse, HIV and homelessness – in the context of their families. They use a research-based, culturally grounded approach to help ethnically, socially and religiously diverse families decrease rejection and increase support for their LGBT children.

The project team is putting research into practice by developing the first evidence-based family model of wellness, prevention and care to strengthen families and promote positive development and healthy futures for LGBT children and youth. Once developed, they will disseminate their model across the U.S. and to groups they work with in other countries.

The project is designed to: 1) study parents’, families’ and caregivers’ reactions and adjustment to an adolescent’s coming out and LGBT identity; 2) develop training and assessment materials for health, mental health, and school-based providers, child welfare, juvenile justice, family service workers and community service providers on working with LGBT youth and families; 3) develop resources to strengthen families to support LGBT children and adolescents; and 4) develop a new model of family-related care to improve health and mental health outcomes for LGBT adolescents. Findings will be used to inform policy and practice and to change the way that systems of care address the needs of LGBT adolescents.

Their new research shows that family accepting and rejecting behaviors have a compelling impact on their LGBT children’s health and mental health.