Continued Early Childhood Education Phone: 866-727-1617

How Can We Welcome and Include LGBTQ Parents and Families into Our Program?

Sara Pullen, DPT, MPH

April 13, 2020



How can we welcome and include LGBTQ parents and families into our program?


How can we welcome and include LGBTQ parents and families? Do promotional materials and ads feature same-sex couples or trans parents? Does your organization take care to ensure that LGBTQ parents feel included in parent trainings and meetings? If there are parent trainings and meetings, instead of saying, "Moms and dads" when you address the parents, make sure you acknowledge that there are a lot of different family structures.

When my kids were in Pre-K, I volunteered at their school one day reading books to the class.  One of the books I read was called Love Makes a Family. The story talks about a child who was with her mom and dad and they love to give their dog a bath. Another child in the story was with her dad and his partner and they like to cook dinner together. It also talked about two sisters who live with their grandma and she's great at helping them with their math homework. This book is an example of normalizing LGBTQ families and all different kinds of families, whether they are single parents or children living with grandparents.

Are the parents aware that the staff has had inclusion trainings including LGBTQ? We have some friends who are lesbians and they have an adopted daughter. It really made a difference to them knowing that the staff at their child's school goes through diversity training and inclusion training, including LGBTQ. They felt that because it was in the promotional materials and on the website they really knew they were going to a place where their family is valued.


This Ask the Expert is an edited excerpt from the course, Cultural Competence With Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Transgender, and Questioning Individuals, by Sara Pullen, DPT, MPH.

sara pullen

Sara Pullen, DPT, MPH

Dr. Pullen is an Associate Professor at Emory University School of Medicine, where she coordinates the service learning program and the pro bono physical therapy clinic. Dr. Pullen’s clinical practice and research focuses on the intersection of HIV, chronic pain and opioid use, especially in underserved areas. Dr. Pullen started the first physical therapy clinic within a freestanding, multi-service AIDS clinic in the southeastern U.S. where she holds weekly clinics and conducts clinical research.  She has wide experience in the provision of health services to underserved communities both in the U.S. and internationally. She has published several peer-reviewed journals on the topic of HIV and physical therapy, and provided the HIV content of the two major study guides for the physical therapy national board licensure exam. In 2015, she received the IPT-HOPE Award from the World Congress of Physical Therapy for her work in the field of HIV and physiotherapy. In 2018, she received the Emory University School of Medicine’s prestigious Hidden Gem Award for her groundbreaking work with HIV and chronic pain in vulnerable communities. 

Related Courses

Cultural Competence With Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Transgender, and Questioning Individuals
Presented by Sara Pullen, DPT, MPH


Sara Pullen, DPT, MPH
Course: #31407Level: IntroductorySubject Area: Building productive relationships with families1 Hour
  'I currently have a child with both parents who are of the same sex'   Read Reviews
This course will examine cultural competence for providing safe, welcoming environments and workplaces for LGBTQ families, employees, and co-workers. It will provide specific strategies for schools and employers to ensure a respectful and supportive work environment for LGBTQ individuals.

Working with Diverse Families and Coworkers
Presented by Anarella Cellitti, PhD, Sara Pullen, DPT, MPH


Anarella Cellitti, PhDSara Pullen, DPT, MPH
Course: #31431Level: IntermediateSubject Area: Building productive relationships with families2 Hours
  'I enjoy hearing and learning from the personal anecdotes of wonderfully engaging and accomplished presenters!'   Read Reviews
This course will explore working with diverse families and colleagues, specifically Latino families and LGBTQ families. During this course, learners will discover potential barriers, and actionable inclusion strategies, to create welcoming, culturally sensitive environments for all children and families.

Basic Spanish for Childcare Professionals
Presented by Sara Pullen, DPT, MPH


Sara Pullen, DPT, MPH
Course: #31234Level: IntroductorySubject Area: Building productive relationships with families1 Hour
  'All great phrases to know in school!'   Read Reviews
This course will focus on basic Spanish vocabulary, phrases and simple conversations for childcare professionals working in Spanish-speaking settings. The course will provide a basis for communication between childcare professionals, children and caregivers.

CDA Renewal - Preschool, Part D
Presented by Sara Pullen, DPT, MPH, Liz Moore, MEd, Amanda Schwartz, PhD, Luis Hernandez, MA, Shari Robertson, PhD, CCC-SLP, Anarella Cellitti, PhD, Tara Warwick, MS, OTR/L, Connie Jo Smith, EdD, Becky Bennett, EdD


Sara Pullen, DPT, MPHLiz Moore, MEdAmanda Schwartz, PhDLuis Hernandez, MAShari Robertson, PhD, CCC-SLPAnarella Cellitti, PhDTara Warwick, MS, OTR/LConnie Jo Smith, EdDBecky Bennett, EdD
Course: #31520Level: IntermediateSubject Area: Building productive relationships with familiesSubject Area: Maintaining a commitment to professionalismSubject Area: Observing and recording children's behavior9 Hours
  'All courses were concise, clear and organized'   Read Reviews
This course focuses on screening, assessment, and evaluation, working with families, and communicating effectively with coworkers and families. This course is one of five parts that together comprise a 45-hour package of CDA renewal coursework specific and relevant for the Preschool setting. Each part includes 9 hours of content. Parts belonging to this package are labeled “CDA Renewal - Preschool, Part A” through “CDA Renewal - Preschool, Part E” and may be completed in any order.

CDA Credential - Family Child Care, Part 4
Presented by Tara Warwick, MS, OTR/L, Karen Deerwester, EdS, Shari Robertson, PhD, CCC-SLP, Megan Kapcar, BS, MA, CCC-SLP, Brynn Hanson, BS, BA, MS, CCC-SLP, Brian Fisher, BS, MS, CCC-SLP, Anarella Cellitti, PhD, Luis Hernandez, MA, Sara Pullen, DPT, MPH, Marva Lewis, PhD, Amanda Schwartz, PhD, J. Neil Tift, BA, MA


Tara Warwick, MS, OTR/LKaren Deerwester, EdSShari Robertson, PhD, CCC-SLPMegan Kapcar, BS, MA, CCC-SLPBrynn Hanson, BS, BA, MS, CCC-SLPBrian Fisher, BS, MS, CCC-SLPAnarella Cellitti, PhDLuis Hernandez, MASara Pullen, DPT, MPHMarva Lewis, PhDAmanda Schwartz, PhDJ. Neil Tift, BA, MA
Course: #31822Level: IntroductorySubject Area: Building productive relationships with families10 Hours
  'It gave me insight on how to include the parents in the educational piece of the day care use their core values, input, and don't discriminate'   Read Reviews
This course is one of twelve courses that together comprise a 120-hour package of coursework designed for acquiring a new Family Child Care CDA Credential. Each course includes 10 hours of content. Courses are labeled “CDA Credential - Family Child Care, Part 1” through “CDA Credential - Family Child Care, Part 12” and may be completed in any order. This course focuses on topics related to CDA Subject Area 4, Building Productive Relationships with Families.