Family Equality Council and PFLAG National Thank Senate and House Cosponsors for Taking Action Against LGBTQ Discrimination.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Family Equality Council and PFLAG National welcome the reintroduction of the Every Child Deserves a Family (ECDF) Act of 2017 in the U.S. Senate, and thank Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) for her leadership on behalf of youth in the child welfare system and LGBTQ adoptive and foster parents. The Senate bill, S. 1303, is co-sponsored by Senators Blumenthal (D-CT), Brown (D-OH), Franken (D-MN), Sanders (I-VT), and Wyden (D-OR). The Senate bill accompanies the H.R. 2640, introduced in the House of Representatives last month by Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL).
When passed, ECDF will restrict federal funding for states employing discriminatory practices in adoption and foster care placements based on the sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status of potential parents, as well as the sexual orientation or gender identity of youth in foster care. At its heart, ECDF will ensure that more kids in foster care find a loving and stable home — be it a temporary foster home while they await reunification with family or a forever home with adoptive parents.
“With so many American children in need of a permanent home, we should not be preventing loving, caring, and responsible adults from welcoming these children into their families,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “The absence of a national policy prevents thousands of children from growing up in a safe home with devoted parents. The Every Child Deserves a Family Act would remove outdated discriminatory barriers, and let as many of our nation’s foster children as possible have a safe and permanent home.”
“This bill highlights why discrimination in any form is unreasonable in a civilized society,” said U.S. Rep. John Lewis. “You do the math. Our society has the chance to eradicate the foster care adoption problem entirely, if this bill is passed and enforced. It mandates that agencies put nothing before the happiness and well-being of our children and use every measure to place them with willing, capable adoptive families, regardless of their make-up. Every healthy family has an equal opportunity to give a child a home. The persistence of discriminatory policy robs us of that opportunity.”
U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said: “I’m proud to once again join Congressman John Lewis and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in introducing the Every Child Deserves a Family Act. Every foster child deserves the opportunity to enjoy and experience a loving home and this legislation will help parents who are ready and willing to open their hearts and homes to these children. Currently, we have too many families and individuals eager to provide a home for our foster children and are denied these opportunities based off of discrimination and preconceptions. Our bill places measures to prevent further prejudices against applicant’s marital status, gender identity, and sexual orientation resulting in a minimized waiting time for both foster children and parents. It is our hope that with this legislation, we will be able to unite these foster children with warm and loving parents and place to call home.”
Following the introduction of the Senate bill, Family Equality Council CEO Stan J. Sloan said: “We are pleased to see this critical piece of legislation introduced in both houses of Congress, and we now call on all members of Congress to step up and support our goal of eliminating discriminatory barriers that continue to prevent children from finding permanency in loving, forever home.”
“Our goal will be to educate all members of Congress on why they should be cosponsors of this bill because every child, including LGBTQ children deserves an equal chance at a forever family with parents who love them” said Elizabeth Raymond Kohm, Interim Executive Director, PFLAG National.
ECDF’s prohibition of discrimination against LGBTQ kids in care would require foster care providers fulfill their primary responsibility of ensuring that every youth in foster care is safe and has every opportunity to find the right home, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This is a necessary step given that LGBTQ children, who are over-represented in the foster care system, often face discrimination and familial rejection prior to and upon entering foster care.
To learn more about the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, visit: www.familyequality.org/ecdf
About Family Equality Council
Family Equality Council connects, supports, and represents the three million parents who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer in this country today and their six million children of all ages. We are changing attitudes and policies to ensure that all families are respected, loved, and celebrated — including families with parents who are LGBTQ. We are a community of parents, children, grandparents, grandchildren and unattached youth that reaches across this country. For almost forty years we have raised our children and raised our voices toward fairness for all families. As we look to the next chapter of our work, we are also focused on LGBTQ youth needing families and the two million LGBTQ adults waiting to foster or adopt in our country.