Today, some of the country’s top child welfare organizations joined in opposing the anti-LGBTQ bill HB 2481, which is being considered in the Kansas House of Representatives. The following parties signed onto a letter detailing their reasons for opposing the discriminatory legislation: the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Equality Kansas, ACLU of Kansas, Child Welfare League of America, North American Council on Adoptable Children, National Center for Adoption and Permanency, Foster Club, Voice For Adoption, Foster Adopt Connect, Kansas Appleseed, and Children's Alliance of Kansas.
Read the letter here.
HB 2481 would allow child welfare organizations -- including adoption and foster care agencies -- to turn away qualified Kansans 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.
“The organizations that have joined HRC and Equality Kansas in opposing this anti-LGBTQ bill are among the most recognizable names in foster care and adoption in the United States,” said Ellen Kahn, Director of the HRC’s Foundation's Children, Youth & Families Program. “This bill is patently discriminatory and opposed by organizations working in the child welfare space. HRC and the signatories on this letter urge the Kansas House of Representatives to listen to the voices of the people working on these issues, not those who would seek to discriminate against potential parents based on who they are.”
HRC recently released a report, Disregarding the Best Interest of the Child: License to Discriminate In Child Welfare Services, detailing the harms of efforts to write anti-LGBTQ discrimination by child welfare agencies into law. Statistics suggest that an estimated two million LGBTQ adults in the U.S. are interested in adoption, but the LGBTQ community often remains an untapped resource when it comes to finding families for children and youth in foster care.
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. HB 2481 will only exacerbate the challenges faced by LGBTQ young people.