Ruth Ellis Center

Creating a world where LGBTQ+ youth can be safe and supported in all systems of care.

The Ruth Ellis Institute centers the experiences of LGBTQ+ young people to inform and change nationwide systems of care through education and evaluation.

By providing intensive training and consulting for human service organizations and care systems, The Institute is enhancing LGBTQ+ cultural competence, fostering supportive environments for LGBTQ+ young people, and promoting positive well-being outcomes.

The Ruth Ellis Institute follows an embedded model of activism that supports service providers and administrations in identifying and overcoming their most significant challenges in welcoming and serving LGBTQ+ children, youth, and their families. The Institute also trains practitioners to implement evidence-informed interventions from REC’s research and evaluation work under the Federal Children’s Bureau.


Since February 2023, the Institute has been working with MDHHS to facilitate statewide training on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression (SOGIE), SOGIE data collection, and providing evidence-based support group services for youth with diverse SOGIE.

Ruth Ellis Institute proudly partners with the National SOGIE Center. Our team utilizes its resources to better inform content for youth and young adults with diverse SOGIE and their families across care systems, including Children’s Protective Services.

Program Values

  • Focusing on restorative collaboration with systems of care.
  • Supporting family preservation.
  • Prioritizing evidence-based practices for safety, health, and residential permanency.
  • Believing LGBTQ+ young people of color are experts in their own lives.
  • Available Training Content
  • Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity & Expression 101
  • Tools for Working with LGBTQ+ youth
  • Family Acceptance Project
  • Ruth Ellis Center Orientation
  • Ruth Ellis Center Principles of Work
  • Application of Work to CPS
  • Foster Care and Juvenile Justice
  • Safe Bathrooms

Ruth Ellis Quarterly Training

Are you interested in training? To help us assess your needs, please complete a Training Request Form.

Ready to learn more about Ruth Ellis Center, its work, and its mission? Register for Quarterly Training.

Want more information on our research? Contact our Institute Director.

Training Reviews

“Great training. Should be offered and mandatory across state.”

“This helped me with my personal life to be able to help my family members and also with any cases I get that I can identify with. I know this is a sensitive subject but I feel empowered to be able to advocate for the youth.”

“Nice balance of group activities, listening to powerpoints, videos and getting attendees up and moving. This presentation was so much more informative than I was expecting!”

Institute Impact

Just last year:

  • We secured a new statewide contract with MDHHS Children’s Services Administration to implement Journey Ahead training and services in child welfare.
  • Trained 2,705 individuals working in systems of care in 114 sessions, building knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors that are LGBTQ+ affirming with young people.
  • Coached 34 young people through Journey Ahead, a support group-based program for LGBTQ+ youth in child welfare.

We have more work to do. Support us today.