Family Preservation

In October 2015, Ruth Ellis Center (REC) began a pilot designed to help LGBTQ children and youth who may be at risk for removal from their families by the State (Child Protective Services) and there is evidence that parental mistreatment may be related to the child’s sexual orientation, gender identity and/or gender expression. The program has key goals of family engagement, preservation, and support.

The program is being implemented as a collaboration between the Ruth Ellis Center and Dr. Caitlin Ryan and the Family Acceptance Project (FAP) at SF State University.
The FAP-REC program model adds an essential component for families with LGBTQ children: specific research-based strategies that help families understand their child’s sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (SOGIE) in a cultural context, teaches families how to identify and modify specific rejecting behaviors that increase their LGBT child’s risk for suicide, substance abuse, HIV, family conflict, etc., helps families to increase accepting behaviors that promote well-being, and build interactional skills while connecting families with an LGBT affirmative environment.

  • REC has trained almost every Child Protective Services case worker in Wayne County to identify abusive and harmful behaviors related to a child’s LGBT identify and gender expression. The Ruth Ellis Center receives referrals from the county’s Child Protective Services case managers.
  • REC provides up to 13 months of intense home-based family support services.
  • The Family Preservation team includes a Licensed Counselor, a Case Manager, and a Parent Support Partner.

For more information regarding the Family Preservation Program, please contactRuby Lee, Family Advocate at

This program is made possible in part by: The Michigan Department of Health & Human Services, First Presbyterian Church of Birmingham, and the FCA Foundation.