Carers Queensland is the first not-for-profit organisation in Queensland to be accredited with the “Rainbow Tick”, a distinction given to Australian businesses and organisations that offer welcoming and inclusive workplaces and service delivery to LGBTI clients and staff.
Julie is in a same-sex relationship and cares for her two boys, aged 9 and 14. Last year, the 49-year-old sought help from Carers Queensland for her eldest son. The organisation helped Julie’s youngest child join a Young Carer program and helped the family seek counselling.
She said she recently found out that Carers Queensland had the Rainbow Tick accreditation and it was comforting to know her voice would be heard.
“I think this is a really good thing. In this day and age, many people do accept LGBTI relationships, but to know they fully accept them is nice and it makes things easier,” Julie said.
“With the Rainbow Tick attached to Carers Queensland, many people can go in there knowing that they are there not just for traditional couples.
“I think it’s a good thing even for my own child, knowing there are other kids who have same-sex families as well.”
The Rainbow Tick is a set of standards developed by Victorian group GLHV and Quality Innovation Performance Limited (QIP) in 2013.
To get the accreditation, service providers must meet rigorous criteria including embedding inclusive LGBTI practices across the organisation after consultation with LGBTI clients, ensuring the cultural safety of LGBTI clients, and ensuring the organisation’s staff are confident about LGBTI inclusive practices.
Carers Queensland is the the peak body representing more than 400,000 unpaid family and community carers across the state, and CEO Debra Cottrell said the organisation started its journey towards accreditation in January last year.
“The Rainbow Tick is a major achievement for our organisation because the process means we have skilled up our staff to provide a culturally appropriate response to clients and staff who identify as LGBTI, with a genuine respect for their experiences and history,” she said.
“Consultation was held with LGBTI carers, community members and organisations to assist us in understanding what would be best practice in providing a culturally appropriate response to persons who identify as LGBTI.
“This consultation was invaluable in helping us to understand that we needed a whole of organisation response. We formed an LGBTI Allies Group with representation from many of our 15 office locations across Queensland to guide our work and strengthen the support of our staff.
“Utilising a range of existing training materials, we put together a two hour on line LGBTI training course and provided the link, and time during working hours, for staff to complete it.
“Within three months, 97% of our staff had completed the online training, with a high majority believing that it was very beneficial in increasing their awareness and skill level to respond to LGBTI clients and staff.”
The Allies Working Group and staff at our head office also received face-to-face training from experienced industry experts.
“A considerable amount of time was undertaken to review all of our operational policies and procedures, as well as our Human Resource policies and procedures, to ensure that we would meet the QIC Health & Community Services Standards,” Ms Cottrell said.
“At the same time, we put a lens across our documentation and work practices, to ensure that our learnings from our consultations and our training were reflected in our documentation.”
Earlier this year, Carers Queensland undertook a four-day audit involving two assessors from the Quality Improvement Council, who visited five of our service locations at Camp Hill, Ipswich, Toowoomba, Brisbane North and the Sunshine Coast.
The assessors spoke to carers and participants, service providers, Board members, and staff, and reviewed the organisation’s documentation.
“It really was a case of making sure that what we said we did, and that we had embodied our training into the cultural of the organisation, and not just into our documentation,” she said.
“We received excellent feedback from our QIP Assessors on how we can continue to grow and strengthen our response to LGBTI carers, participants and our staff.”
Ms Cottrell said he didn’t think that enough organisations knew about the Rainbow Tick accreditation and the reassurance it could provide to LGBTI clients and staff.
“It has been a great learning experience for us. We hope that us becoming the first not-for-profit company in Queensland to become accredited will encourage more organisations to do so,” she said.
For more information about getting the Rainbow Tick, visit the QIP website here.