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September 14, 2011

Category: Parenting, Missouri

HRC Launches New 50 State Outreach Strategy to Expand Opportunities for Adoption

Midwest Foster Care and Adoption Association becomes Missouri’s first adoption agency to earn HRCF’s All Children—All Families seal of recognition for implementing fully inclusive policies in working with LGBT families

9/14/2011

Washington – With the presentation of the All Children—All Families (ACAF) seal of recognition to the Midwest Foster Care and Adoption Association, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, today launched a new “50 state strategy,” with the goal of securing at least one ACAF-recognized adoption agency dedicated to working with LGBT families in every state.  The Independence, Missouri adoption agency earned the honor by meeting the required criteria for fully inclusive policies and practices in working with the LGBT community.  The Human Rights Campaign’s All Children—All Families initiative provides a comprehensive framework for agencies to establish policies and practices that welcome, support and affirm LGBT foster and adoptive parents.  The seal was presented to Lori Ross the Executive Director of the Midwest Foster Care and Adoption Association, for her leadership in establishing a truly welcoming, supportive agency for all families.

“The LGBT community has been overlooked by foster care and adoption agencies for too long,” said Ms. Ross.  “Being able to experience the joy of raising children is a gift that anyone should have the opportunity to pursue, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.  But for LGBT families, that process could be difficult and riddled with pitfalls along the way.  We are delighted that our agency can now provide the support and openness that LGBT prospective parents are looking for when they begin their journey towards foster care and adoption.”

“This is an exciting time in the area of child welfare as we continue to increase the number of loving forever homes for the thousands of children in this country who deserve nothing less,” said Ellen Kahn, HRC’s Family Project director and a professional social worker.  “We are delighted to recognize Midwest Foster Care and Adoption Association for removing barriers to qualified LGBT adoptive parents and for placing a high value on our families.  It is wonderful that LGBT individuals and couples in Missouri have a trusted resource to turn to when pursuing adoption.  Now we are setting out to make this a reality in every state in the country.”

Across the country, the issue of adoption by same-sex couples has heated up over the past year.  In Virginia, the State Board of Social Services voted to strip legal protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation, religion, age, gender, disability, political beliefs and family status from final rules governing licensed adoption and foster care agencies, but have recently re-opened the public comment period.  In April Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed into law SB 1188, which gives preference to married couples in the adoption process – essentially excluding same-sex couples and narrowing opportunities for single adults who wish to provide a loving home to children.  In a bit of good news, the Arkansas Supreme Court in April upheld a lower court ruling that a law prohibiting adoption by unmarried couples who live together violates the Arkansas Constitution.In Washington, D.C., Representative Pete Stark (D-CA) reintroduced legislation, the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, to address discrimination against qualified, licensed LGBT foster and adoptive families nationwide. 

The “All Children – All Families” initiative, launched in 2007 by the HRC Family Project, aims to promote agency policies and practices that welcome LGBT foster and adoptive parents.  The program seeks to enhance LGBT competence among child welfare professionals and educate LGBT people about opportunities to become foster or adoptive parents to waiting children.  To date, ACAF has 50 participating agencies across the country, and has awarded 15 seals of recognition. Participating adoption agencies in Arizona and Florida are expected to earn the ACAF seal of recognition in the coming months.  Find more information about the initiative.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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