208 W 13 St
New York, NY 10011

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9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The LGBTQ Institute for Family Therapy (LIFT) Certification Program 

LIFT is a ground-breaking, 100-hour certification program for Licensed Master Social Workers (LMSW) and Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW) who provide therapeutic services to families involved with New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS). LIFT is designed to help clinicians gain additional knowledge, skills and confidence to reduce the rejecting behaviors of families struggling to accept their LGBTQ children. The program also aims to support families experiencing conflict around their child’s actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Interested clinicians must submit an application for each six-month session; please note that space is limited. Upon program completion, clinicians will receive 54 CE hours. This program is free to eligible clinicians for a limited time!


Program Structure

LIFT is a 100-hour certification program that includes 54 hours of classroom CEU (continuing education units) trainings and group coaching sessions; 25 hours of individual study and up to 20 hours of one-to-one technical assistance for case consultations.

The LIFT Certification Program will be delivered on a six month recurring basis. Each month, clinicians will participate in one CEU training and one coaching session. CEU trainings will meet for a full day (six hours) and cover topics including: 1) SOGIE Development, 2) Sexual Orientation & Family Rejection, 3) Gender Identity & Family Rejection, 4) Intersectionality, 5) Religious, Cultural and Family Beliefs and 6) LGBTQ Identity & Conversion Therapy Practices. Supplemental coaching sessions will meet for a half day (three hours), providing time for participants to process the elements of successful family therapy when working with families who have LGBTQ children.

There are two opportunities to receive LIFT certification. Cohort A will run from January 2017 to June 2017. Cohort B will run from July 2017 to December 2017.

LIFT Cohort A (JanUary 2017-June 2017)

January 18
February 1
February 15
March 1
March 15
March 29
April 12
April 26
May 10
May 24
June 7
June 21

LIFT Cohort B (July 2017-December 2017)

July 18
August 1
August 15
August 29
September 12
September 26
October 10
October 24
November 7
November 21
December 5
December 19

Participant Eligibility

LIFT is currently accepting applications for Cohort A (January to June) and Cohort B (July to December). The deadline to apply for Cohort A is Thursday, January 5, 2017.

In order to participate in the LIFT Certification Program, applicants must meet these minimum requirements:

  • Credentialed as a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) or a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in New York State
  • Submit application; upload resume and complete assessment
  • Secure supervisor approval to commit to LIFT time commitment and guidelines
  • Prior participation in the ACS LGBTQ Training preferred, but not required; participation in LIFT may be used in lieu of mandated ACS LGBTQ training and re-training sessions
  • Have a strong foundational understanding of LGBTQ identities and experiences, the ACS LGBTQ policy and related best practices
  • See below for complete eligibility guidelines

LIFT is committed to building a network of diverse clinicians by offering ongoing professional development opportunities. People of color, people with disabilities, women and LGBTQ candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.


Ideal Core Competencies

  • Sincere desire to raise awareness, build capacity and educate families struggling to accept their LGBTQ children about the risks and impact of family rejecting behaviors, and move them to more affirming and accepting behaviors
  • Strong commitment to social justice, progressive issues and empowering LGBTQ communities
  • Exceptional interpersonal and clinical skills, including some experience engaging with and effectively communicating complex concepts to families with diverse values, beliefs and traditions
  • Experience working as a clinician for families with child welfare-involved or court-involved LGBTQ children and youth, or those at risk of being involved with these systems
  • Demonstrated professional experience working with families struggling to accept their LGBTQ children
  • Confidence and competence in discussing sexual orientation and gender identity issues with adolescents, families and other caregivers

Minimum Core Competencies

  • Credentialed as a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) or a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in New York State
  • Supervisor approval to commit to LIFT time commitment and guidelines
  • Prior or upcoming participation in the ACS LGBTQ Training preferred, but not required
  • Familiarity with issues of risks, challenges, stressors and strengths specific to LGBTQ youth and young adult populations, their families, other caregivers and service delivery systems
  • Working knowledge of and competency in using LGBTQ affirming terminology; basic understanding of the differences between sexual orientation, sex and gender
  • Understanding of agencies' legal obligations to provide non-discriminatory treatment to LGBTQ youth and their families


After successfully completing this 100-hour program, LIFT certified clinicians will:

  • Gain the knowledge, skills and confidence necessary to identify family rejecting behaviors that manifest when conflicts arise around a child's actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
  • Have an enhanced foundational understanding of LGBTQ identities and experiences—particularly those of LGBTQ young people navigating family rejecting behaviors—as well as challenges that LGBTQ young people face when attempting to access affirming family therapy services.
  • Gain a working familiarity with ACS's commitment to provide knowledgeable and affirming services, and the related requirements for ensuring that LGBTQ young people are welcomed and affirmed within ACS's family therapy programs.
  • Be capable of implementing individual best practices and organizational strategies in compliance with New York City's Human Rights Act (and relevant ACS LGBTQ specific policies where applicable), which will help increase the success of services provided to LGBTQ young people and their families.
  • Experience a personal increase in acceptance of LGBTQ people, and a professional increase in understanding their role in ensuring that LGBTQ young people are welcomed, affirmed and receive necessary family therapy services.
  • Receive a certificate of completion, CE credits (54 hours), access to a closed virtual support group with fellow graduates offering peer-to-peer support, technical assistance from The Center, targeted referrals from a variety of ACS prevention programs in need of specialists well versed in supporting families with LGBTQ children and future LGBTQ CEU professional development opportunities.