WASHINGTON, D.C. – Family Equality Council and PFLAG National, Co-Chairs of the National Every Child Deserves a Family Coalition, welcome the reintroduction of the Every Child Deserves a Family (ECDF) Act of 2017 in the House of Representatives, and thank Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) for their leadership on behalf of youth in the child welfare system and LGBTQ adoptive and foster parents.
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.
Commenting on the continued, pressing need for such protections, Family Equality Council CEO Stan J. Sloan said: “Every year an astounding number of youth in care – more than 20,000 in 2015 – “age out” of foster care, leaving them to enter adulthood with no parents, no family, no place to call home, and depressingly high odds of homelessness, early pregnancy, incarceration, unemployment, poverty, and sexual exploitation. Despite a very clear shortage of foster and adoptive homes, discriminatory barriers continue to prevent children from finding permanency in a loving, forever home. Passage of ECDF would open more homes for kids in care by tapping into a historically under-utilized community of willing, loving, potential foster and adoptive parents.”
PFLAG National Vice President Dale Bernstein welcomed the news: her son Zack and his husband Rob adopted her own grandson in the state of Texas. That state recently passed a law allowing discrimination against potential LGBTQ foster and adoptive parents “As a mother and grandmother, I can’t for the life of me understand why anyone would want to deny any child the opportunity to thrive in a loving and stable home, or why any state would not want there to be more loving families created. Why would anyone leave a child in an environment where the family cannot take care of them, or allow them to languish in the foster-care system for weeks, months...or longer, when there are thousands of couples who will welcome that child with open arms? I’m grateful to Congressman Lewis for standing up for my family, for foster youth, and for potential foster and adoptive parents across the country.”
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 make up 20% of youth in care, often face discrimination and familial rejection prior to and upon entering foster care.
Family Equality Council and PFLAG National look forward to the reintroduction of ECDF in the Senate soon, and call on all Members of Congress to join us in passing these essential protections for youth in care into law.
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. To learn more, visit familyequality.org
PFLAG is the nation’s largest organization uniting families, allies, and people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer. Now in its 44th year, PFLAG is committed to advancing equality through its mission of support, education, and advocacy, and has more than 400 chapters and 200,000 members and supporters crossing multiple generations of American families in major urban centers, small cities, and rural areas in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. To learn more, visit pflag.org