The Family Equality Council, America’s foremost national advocate for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) families, joined with PFLAG National (Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians And Gays) and the National Black Justice Coalition in applauding Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) for signing on as the first Republican co-sponsor of the Every Child Deserves a Family Act (ECDF).
The Every Child Deserves a Family Act would ensure that states do not impose discriminatory restrictions that significantly limit the number of foster and adoptive homes available to kids who desperately need them.
Family Equality Council Executive Director Jennifer Chrisler praised Rep. Ros-Lehtinen for joining Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA), the original sponsor of the bill, in providing leadership on the issue. The bill currently has 52 co-sponsors. A Senate companion bill is expected in June.
Sound family policy is not a partisan issue,” said Chrisler. “There are more than 424,000 kids in foster care in the United States, with 115,000 eligible for adoption. Congress must work together to find ways to provide these children loving and stable homes. The only way to do that is to tear down legal and political barriers that are eliminating qualified parents who also happen to be gay or lesbian.”
"PFLAG National has been supporting parents, families and children all over the country for over 35 years, and we know from our experience that it is in the best interest of every child – the right of every child – to have the loving care and support of a family,” said Jody Huckaby, Executive Director of PFLAG National. “No potential foster or adoptive parent should then be denied the right to provide a loving home to a child due to the discriminatory practices of state legislators. Any lawmaker who states he or she is truly committed to family values should be committed to the Every Child Deserves a Family Act. It is the right thing to do, and the right time is now.”
“According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 30 percent of foster care youth across the nation are black,” said Sharon Lettman-Hicks, Executive Director of the National Black Justice Coalition. “Black youth are found in disproportionate numbers in the foster care system, yet they are not finding the permanent homes they need and represent only 25 percent of the children who are adopted. We are excited that Rep. Ros-Lehtinen understands, just as we do, that it is not in anyone’s best interest to discriminate against any individual or couple who is qualified and who wants to provide a loving home for children in the foster care system. Research shows us that youth who age out of foster care without ever finding permanency are at a higher risk for poverty, homelessness, incarceration and early parenthood.”
Currently there are 1 million LGBT parents raising 2 million children in America today. According to the Williams Institute, another 2 million LGBT people would consider adopting children from foster care if discriminatory laws and policies were changed.
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