HRC Blog

‘Put Children First,’ say HRC & Child Welfare Experts to Virginia Governor and Board

Today HRC Foundation Family Project Director Ellen Kahn joined Joe Kroll, executive director of the North American Council on Adoptable Children, and Adam Pertman, executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute in penning letters to Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and members of the State Board of Social Services asking them put Virginia's children first by recommending and enacting proposed regulations by former Governor Tim Kaine that would prevent child welfare agencies from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, marital status, or religion in the adoption process.  There are currently over one thousand children in Virginia’s foster care system waiting to be adopted into a loving forever home. 

A copy of the letters to Governor McDonnell and members of the State Board of Social Services are below.

April 7, 2011

Governor Bob McDonnell

P.O. Box 1475 Richmond, VA 23218

Dear Governor McDonnell:

We write to you today to urge you to support the proposed regulations before the State Board of Social Services that would prevent child welfare agencies from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, marital status, or religion in the adoption process.  This is vitally important, as today over one thousand children in Virginia are waiting to be placed in a permanent home with parents who will love and support them. These children need and deserve to be part of a family.

The nation’s most reputable children’s health and welfare organizations agree on this issue.  The Child Welfare League of America, the nation’s oldest and largest child welfare organization, opposes restrictions on adoption by gays and lesbians and believes that applicants should be assessed on their ability to parent a child, not on their marital status or sexual orientation.  The North American Council on Adoptable Children opposes laws and legislation that restrict the consideration of prospective foster and adoptive parents based on their sexual orientation.  In addition, two research-based reports by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute recommend that agencies allow same-sex couples to adopt in order to expand the pool of foster and adoptive families. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics, an organization dedicated to the health and well-being of children, supports legislation that allows same sex couples to jointly adopt children.  The American Psychological Association supports initiatives which allow same-sex couples to jointly adopt and co-parent children.

Growing up without a permanent family not only has a high emotional cost to children and youth, it also has a real financial cost.  Youth who “age out” of foster care are more likely than their peers to drop out of school, be unemployed, end up homeless or involved in criminal conduct.   We simply can’t afford to exclude any qualified parents when the stakes are so high.

This is not a political issue.  It is not a gay rights issue.  It is about the children of Virginia.  With your support of the proposed regulations, hundreds, if not thousands of children will have a much greater chance of being placed in a loving home.  That should make you, the Governor of the great Commonwealth of Virginia, very pleased.

Sincerely,

Ellen Kahn, Family Project Director, Human Rights Campaign Foundation

Joe Kroll, Executive Director, North American Council on Adoptable Children

Adam Pertman, Executive Director, Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute

 

April 7, 2011

Dr. Aradhana Sood, Chair of Virginia State Board of Social Services

801 East Main Street Richmond, VA 23219

Dear Dr. Sood and Members of the State Board of Social Services:

We write to you today, as child welfare professionals, to urge you to adopt the proposed regulations before the State Board of Social Services that would prevent child welfare agencies from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, marital status, or religion in the adoption process.  We believe these regulations, proposed by former Governor Kaine, are in the best interest of Virginia’s children.   As you are aware, today over one thousand children in Virginia are waiting to be placed in a permanent home with parents who will love and support them. These children need and deserve to be part of a family.

The nation’s most reputable children’s health and welfare organizations agree on this issue.  The Child Welfare League of America, the nation’s oldest and largest child welfare organization, opposes restrictions on adoption by gays and lesbians and believes that applicants should be assessed on their ability to parent a child, not on their marital status or sexual orientation.  The North American Council on Adoptable Children opposes laws and legislation that restrict the consideration of prospective foster and adoptive parents based on their sexual orientation.  In addition, two research-based reports by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute recommend that agencies allow same-sex couples to adopt in order to expand the pool of foster and adoptive families. 

All major medical associations agree.  The American Academy of Pediatrics, an organization dedicated to the health and well-being of children, supports legislation that allows same sex couples to jointly adopt children.  The American Psychological Association supports initiatives which allow same-sex couples to jointly adopt and co-parent children.

We are aware the State Board of Social Services is awaiting a recommendation on this matter from Governor McDonnell.  We have asked him to support these regulations, but ask you to enact these regulations, regardless of his recommendation.  This is not a political issue.  It is about the children of Virginia.  If the proposed regulations are enacted, hundreds, if not thousands of children will have a much greater chance of being placed in a loving home. 

Sincerely,

Ellen Kahn, Family Project Director, Human Rights Campaign Foundation

Joe Kroll, Executive Director, North American Council on Adoptable Children

Adam Pertman, Executive Director, Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute

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