Every Child Deserves a Family
March 12, 2012 by Ellen Kahn, Director of the Children, Youth & Families Program
It may seem safe to bet that regardless of political party or ideology we can agree on the basic concept that every child deserves a loving, supportive family. And while we may agree in our hearts, unfortunately politics and prejudice continue to stand in the way of insuring that every child does indeed have the opportunity to grow and thrive as part of a family. That’s why HRC is part of a strong coalition of organizations that support the Every Child Deserves a Family Act (S.1770), federal legislation that would prevent discriminatory practices that leave LGBT youth waiting long periods to be placed in adoptive homes, and keep qualified LGBT individuals and couples from being approved as foster and adoptive parents. With over 100,000 children and youth in need of a permanent family, this legislation is essential in removing the barriers that delay and deny the opportunities that stand between children in foster care and the many LGBT adults who have rooms in their hearts and homes for a family. Read HRC’s letter urging Senators to support S. 1770.
In addition to our active support of ECDFA, HRC’s All Children—All Families initiative has been changing the landscape in adoption since 2006. All Children—All Families provides a framework for foster care and adoption agencies to improve their recruitment, retention and support of LGBT resource families, from establishing inclusive written policies to providing professional training for agency staff. We have over 45 agencies formally engaged with us, and have issued 19 “seals of recognition” to agencies that have achieved all ten benchmarks of excellence outlined in the All Children—All Families Promising Practices Guide. One of those seals was recently presented to the New Jersey Department of Youth and Family Services Resource Family Division, the part of their state child welfare system responsible for recruiting and licensing foster/adoptive parents, and placing children into their homes. This effort included staff training for over 500 staff across the state, and four years of solid internal leadership from their senior managers. We hope that other states will follow New Jerseys’ example (check out video featuring NJ leadership) and expand their pool of foster and adoptive parents who are eager to provide a permanent home to waiting children.
While we continue to expand All Children—All Families state by state, we will continue to build support for the ECDFA and work closely with our coalition partners to strip away the restrictive laws and policies that continue to hurt our families. We certainly know that every child needs and deserves a family, and we are doing our part to open more doors to loving homes.
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