The Trump-Pence administration has time and time again attempted to undermine the rights and welfare of LGBTQ people.
In April, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a proposed rule change that would abandon data collection on the sexual orientation of youth in foster care and foster and adoptive parents and guardians in the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS).
This is an ongoing assault by the administration on the LGBTQ community that threatens to harm some of the most vulnerable youth in the foster care system.
LGBTQ youth are overrepresented in foster care. Studies estimate 10% to 20% of youth in out-of-home care identify as LGBTQ, and many face harassment, discrimination and lack of affirming services within the foster care system. Further, fear of discrimination keeps many prospective LGBTQ parents from engaging with foster care and adoption agencies.
In a 2019 survey conducted by HRC, 70% of LGBTQ people surveyed said they were concerned or unsure about their ability to find an agency that would welcome them as an LGBTQ applicant, with 78% fearing being turned away because of their LGBTQ identity. And 56% were worried that agency staff wouldn’t be LGBTQ competent. With over 130,000 children awaiting a permanent family, any barriers to expanding the pool of qualified, loving families is not in the best interest of children.
LGBTQ youth are tragically overrepresented in foster care, and this attempt to erase them and important data on adoptive and foster parents undermines the charge of child welfare professionals -- safety, permanency and well-being for all children.
The Children’s Bureau at the Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families published the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on April 19, in the Federal Register. The public had 60 days to comment on the proposal.
The data from the AFCARS provides states, the Children’s Bureau, and foster care and adoption providers with valuable information to ensure safety and security to children in need of homes and families who will care for them.
HRC recently submitted a comment against the proposed rule.