US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced today that she will be introducting the Every Child Deserves a Family Act. The legislation would open more homes to foster children by working with states to end discrimination against adoptive and foster parents, and that includes lifting bans on sexual orientation, gender identity and marital status. All told, nationwide, there are some 400,000 childre in the US foster care system, and there are currently more 107,000 children currently waiting to be adopted.
Gillibrand stated that “New York is a leader on ensuring that any family can adopt children and sets a great example for the rest of the country. By removing all barriers for LGBT families to serve as foster parents, New York State has increased its foster parent pool by 128,000 prospective parents. This legislation would open thousands of new foster and adoptive homes to children ensuring they are raised in loving families.”
Congressman Peter Stark of California praised the move saying “I applaud Senator Gillibrand for introducing the Every Child Deserves a Family Act in the Senate as we look forward to celebrating National Adoption Month in November. This legislation is about finding solid, permanent and loving homes for the 107,000 foster children waiting to be adopted. That’s why 76 of my colleagues have joined me in sponsoring the House version. It is time to put the best interests of children first and remove all discriminatory barriers in our child welfare system.”
Most states permit single LGBT parents the right to adopt, most do not allow LGBT couples to do so, and five states prohibit same-sex couples from adopting, namely Utah, Mississippi, Louisiana, North Carolina and Michigan.
According to the press release:
A 2001 University of Los Angeles study showed that LGBT couples are just as “fit, effective and successful as similar heterosexual parents.” There are two million LGBT people who have considered becoming adoptive or foster parents, according to the Williams Institute at UCLA. Currently 65,000 adopted children currently live with a gay or lesbian parent. In 2008, a Williams Institute study found that more than 10,500 same-sex couples are raising over 21,000 children in New York State.
In 2010, nearly 28,000 youth nationwide “aged out” of the foster care system. Research shows that these youth are at a high risk for poverty, homelessness, incarceration, and early parenthood.
The Every Child Deserves A Family Act would prohibit an entity that receives federal assistance and is involved in adoption or foster care placements from discriminating against prospective adoptive or foster parents solely on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status. Congress annually invests more than $8 billion into the child welfare system, and many of these children could be adopted by LGBT couples if the bans in local jurisdictions were removed.
Jody Huckaby, executive director of PFLAG National, stated “We commend Senator Gillibrand for her leadership in introducing legislation that would open up more homes to the 115,000 children waiting for their forever families. As a family organization that has spent the past 40 years supporting and advocating for parents, families and children all over the country, we know from our vast experience that it is in the best interest of every child, – and, in fact, the right of every child – to have the loving care and support of a family.”
Jennifer Chrisler, the Executive Director of the Family Equality Council, stated “There is a child welfare crisis in our country. More than one-third of the children in foster care could be placed with a family right now, but state laws are eliminating loving and qualified parents simply because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status. Our country cannot continue to deny these children forever families because of the flawed patchwork of state laws.”
Vice President of Policy and Public Affairs for the Child Welfare League of America, Linda Spears (no relation to Britney that we know of), praised this legislation saying “Far too many children in foster care have little hope for a permanent family and end up being parented by the government. We must support all qualified adults who are interested in providing a nurturing, adoptive home—regardless of their marital status or sexual orientation. Having a real life, caring parent is incredibly important for ensuring a child’s success. Senator Gillibrand’s bill represents progress for these children whose goal is to simply be loved.”
The Roman Catholic Church has yet to comment upon this, but be sure that they will probably condemn it claiming that children need a mother and a father and spewing the usual round of lies in order to sound like they have a point.