Today, HRC called out the Georgia Senate for passing SB 375, a bill that would allow child welfare organizations -- including adoption and foster care agencies -- to turn away qualified Georgians seeking to care for a child in need, including LGBTQ couples, interfaith couples, single parents, married couples in which one prospective parent has previously been divorced, or other parents to whom the agency has a religious objection.
“Plain and simple -- SB 375 is discrimination dressed up as a ‘solution’ to a fake problem,” said Marty Rouse, national field director for the Human Rights Campaign. “It creates an unnecessary hardship for potential LGBTQ adoptive or foster parents in Georgia and primarily harms the children looking for a loving home. It’s unfortunate that leaders are focusing on this bill, instead of concrete ways to improve the child welfare system in Georgia. We ask the Georgia House of Representatives to reject this bill.”
Child welfare organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the Child Welfare League of America, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Education Association have condemned similar bills. This most harms children in the system who are awaiting placement in qualified, loving homes and are instead forced to remain in care. Child welfare services should be guided by the overarching principle that guides all family law: all determinations should be in the “best interest of the child.” It isn’t in the best interest of a child to deny them a qualified, loving family simply because that family doesn’t share all of the tenets of the placing agency’s faith.
Research consistently shows that LGBTQ youth are overrepresented in the foster care system, as many have been rejected by their families of origin because of their LGBTQ status, and are especially vulnerable to discrimination and mistreatment while in foster care. SB 375 will only exacerbate the challenges faced by LGBTQ young people.