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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, six-month 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 six-month certification program that includes 54 hours of classroom CEU (continuing education units) trainings and group coaching sessions as well as one-on-one technical assistance for case consultations.

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.

LIFT is currently accepting applications for Cohort C (January to June of 2018). The deadline to apply for Cohort C is Wednesday, December 20, 2017.

Applications from clinicians working outside of ACS and its contracted agencies are invited to apply and will be considered on a case by case basis.

LIFT Cohort C (January 2018-June 2018)

January 17
January 31
February 14
February 28
March 14
March 28
April 11
April 25
May 9
May 23
June 6
June 20

Participant Eligibility

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; Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT) and Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHC) are invited to apply, but are not eligible to receive CEUs at this time
  • Currently working with families in a clinical capacity, or supervising clinicians who are working with families
  • 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
  • Strong 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
  • 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
  • Understanding of agencies' legal obligations to provide non-discriminatory treatment to LGBTQ youth and their families


After successfully completing this 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.