Monday, March 15, 2010

Take Action! Every Child Deserves a Family Act

It's sadly rare to hear about LGBT-family-positive legislation, but we have a federal proposal pending right now!

Not only is it LGBT-positive, it's also homophobia-negative. The "Every Child Deserves a Family Act" would restrict federal funding for states with anti-LGBT adoption and foster policies.

This legislation would directly affect states with explicit adoption restrictions, including Utah, Florida, Arkansas, Nebraska, and Mississippi.

Representative Pete Stark (CA-13) just introduced this bill, HR 4806, to take into consideration the best interests of children in the foster care system. The bill would open up permanent homes to more foster youth by working with states to eliminate laws, policies, practices, and procedures that exclude potential adoptive and foster parents because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status.

The House Ways and Means Committee is beginning to review this bill, so this is the ideal time to urge your representative to co-sponsor this legislation that will help give foster children permanent, safe, and supportive homes. You can take action over at PFLAG - click here now to send your message.

About 125,000 foster children across the US are waiting to be adopted, but only 50,000 adoptions take place in any given year. There is a clear shortage of adoptive parents, and the result is that children, especially minority and special needs children, languish in foster care and bounce from placement to placement. The 25,000 youth who never find a permanent family and age out of the system each year are more likely to experience poverty, homelessness, incarceration, early pregnancy, and suffer with mental illness or substance abuse.

Despite the urgent need for more adoptive and permanent foster homes, some states have enacted discriminatory bans that prohibit children from being placed with qualified parents due to the parent's sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status.

The result is less children being adopted and more children bouncing around the foster care system with no permanency and no security. In some cases these bans have resulted in a grandparent having to go through costly litigation in order to care for their own kin who are in foster care.

This kind of discrimination does a disservice to many children who need a permanent, safe and supportive home. It robs far too many young people of a family, a core value that many Americans hold dear, and it's time to take a stand.

That's your cue! A couple of clicks and some keystrokes could change the life of a needy child.

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