Monday, October 19, 2009
Family Equality Council eager to work with Rep. Stark on the Every Child Deserves a Family Act
Statement from Executive Director Jennifer Chrisler;
Boston, MA (October 19, 2009)—Family Equality Council, the national organization working to secure equality for LGBT families, is eager to work with Representative Stark (D-CA) on the Every Child Deserves a Family Act (HR 3827). Non-discrimination in adoption is a national child welfare issue of utmost importance and needs to be addressed at the federal level. Currently there are an estimated 500,000 children in the United States foster care system and over 129,000 are legally available for adoption. Unfortunately nearly 25,000 foster children a year are “aged out” of the system and never find a permanent family. These children vary in age, race, and family history but all share a common need for loving homes with loving parents.
Currently there are an estimated 2 million children being raised by lesbian or gay parents, 65,500 of which are adopted. Lesbian and gay parents live in 99.9% of counties across the U.S. Adoption policies with regards to LGBT parents vary from state to state. Although Florida is the only state with an express ban on adoption by LGBT individuals, as of 2008, seven states either expressly restrict adoption by LGBT couples or had laws and policies that may have the effect of restricting LGBT parents from adopting. State laws and regulations are not the only barriers facing LGBT individuals. One-third of child welfare agencies currently reject LGBT applicants, citing state law, a policy of placing children with married-heterosexual only couples, or a conflict with the religious beliefs associated with the agency,.
LGBT families are also raising an estimated 3% of children in the foster care system. As of 2007, four states also restrict LGBT individuals from becoming foster parents. To learn more on state specific LGBT adoption and foster care policies and laws visit http://www.familyequality.org/resources/publications.html.
Thirty years of scientific research shows overwhelmingly that children raised in same-sex headed households do just as well emotionally and psychologically as children raised in heterosexual households. Leading child welfare organizations support adoption by lesbian and gay men, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, Child Welfare League of America, North American Council on Adoptable Children, American Psychological Association, American Bar Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Psychoanalytic Association and the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Statement of Jennifer Chrisler, Executive Director, Family Equality Council:
“All decisions concerning the health and welfare of the country’s most vulnerable children should be made solely with their best interest in mind. Family Equality Council looks forward to working with Congressman Stark and House Bill 3827 as an opportunity to educate members of Congress and the public about why non-discrimination in adoption is a national child welfare issue that needs to be addressed.”