Family Equality Council Hails Introduction of Bipartisan Legislation to End Anti-LGBTQ Discrimination in the Child Welfare System

Every Child Deserves a Family Act Introduced Today by Congressman John Lewis (D-GA-5) in the U.S. House

WASHINGTON, D.C. —  Family Equality Council welcomes the bipartisan introduction of the Every Child Deserves a Family (ECDF) Act of 2019 in the U.S. House of Representatives, and thanks Congressman John Lewis (D-GA-5) for his dedicated leadership on behalf of youth in the child welfare system and LGBTQ adoptive and foster parents. Congresswoman Jenniffer González-Colón (R-PR) joins Congressman Lewis as an original cosponsor on the bill. The companion Senate bill, led by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), will be introduced soon.

When passed, the Every Child Deserves a Family (ECDF) Act will increase the number of foster and adoptive homes available to all foster children and will improve services to LGBTQ and religious minority children. ECDF prohibits federally funded adoption, foster care and child welfare agencies from discriminating against children, families, and individuals based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion and marital status, and directs the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to provide assistance to states, tribes and agencies to improve services to LGBTQ foster youth.

Congressman John Lewis (D-GA), sponsor of the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, said: “This bill is the right thing to do, and quite frankly it is long overdue. When there are hundreds of little children who desperately need a family to feel whole, and there are loving families who want to make these children a part of their families, why would we stand in the way?  It should not matter whether those families are gay or straight, married or single, Christian, Jewish, or Muslim, if they are capable and willing to raise an adopted child as their own. We are one people, one human family, and every child deserves the chance to be raised in a family, especially when there are people who are willing and able to do it.”

“Family Equality Council is pleased to see this critical piece of legislation introduced in the House and we thank Congressman Lewis and Congresswoman González-Colón for their leadership,” said The Rev. Stan J. Sloan, CEO of Family Equality Council. “There is a foster care and adoption crisis in this country today, with over 442,000 children in care, and over 123,000 waiting to be adopted. This crisis is compounded by discrimination, especially in ten states which permit agencies to turn away qualified foster and adoptive parents.  Passing the Every Child Deserves a Family Act will end this discrimination, and help ensure more children find the loving, forever homes they deserve.”

“This legislation will dramatically improve care to the 1 in 5 foster youth who are LGBTQ and for religious minority foster youth, by providing resources and guidance to ensure that these youth receive affirming, supportive care and placements,” said Schylar Baber, federal policy consultant for Family Equality Council.  “Critically, ECDF will ensure that foster youth will not be subjected to conversion therapy, which is a form of discrimination, to which I was subjected to while in foster care.”  

“Two-thirds of Americans, including a majority of Republicans and Evangelicals, oppose anti-LGBTQ discrimination in taxpayer-funded foster care and adoption services,” said Denise Brogan-Kator, chief policy officer at Family Equality Council. “We now call on Congress to ensure that the will of the American people is reflected in federal law, by passing the Every Child Deserves a Family Act and eliminating discrimination in our nation’s child welfare systems.”

About Family Equality Council

Family Equality Council advances legal and lived equality for LGBTQ families, and for those who wish to form them, through building community, changing hearts and minds, and driving policy change. Family Equality Council believes every LGBTQ person should have the right and opportunity to form and sustain a loving family, regardless of who they are or where they live. Learn more at familyequality.org.

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Media Contact:
Ed Harris, Chief Communications Officer, Family Equality Council
646-880-3005 x117  / eharris@familyequality.org