Past year brings increased attention to adoption by same-sex families
WASHINGTON – The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, is celebrating adoptive families throughout the month of November, which is National Adoption Month. HRC is offering a wealth of resources related to adoption and other issues important to LGBT families at www.hrc.org/issues/adoption.
The past year has brought increased attention to the issues of adoption by LGBT individuals and couples in state capitols and courtrooms across the country. For example, in Arkansas, the state supreme court upheld a lower court ruling that a law prohibiting adoption by unmarried couples who live together violates the Arkansas Constitution. In Virginia, the State Board of Social Services voted to strip legal protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and family status from final rules governing licensed adoption and foster care agencies before reopening the public comment period. The Board is expected to vote on the protections again in December. And in Washington, Senator Kristin Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, which would remove barriers to LGBT people serving as foster and adoptive parents to the many children in need of loving homes. ECDFA was reintroduced in the House of Representatives in May by Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA).
“With so many children in foster care in this country, it is irresponsible to treat adoption as a political issue,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “During National Adoption Month, we will up our efforts to offer resources to the loving LGBT individuals and couples who are ready to open their hearts and their homes to children who deserve nothing less.”
“This month serves as a reminder that our work to provide loving homes for children is not done,” said Ellen Kahn, HRC’s Family Project director and a professional social worker. “We are working with adoption agencies and child welfare organizations across the country to increase the pool of qualified parents and forever homes. LGBT parents are a valuable resource for children and youth.”
HRC has created a resource center for families considering adoption at www.hrc.org/issues/adoption with information about adoption agencies that work with LGBT families, answers to frequently asked questions about adoption and foster care, a video montage called Gay Parents Speak, featuring real parents telling their stories of adopting and loving children, and links to related programs and organizations.
While HRC celebrates National Adoption Month each November, the work of the HRC Family Project is year round. The “All Children – All Families” initiative, launched in 2007, promotes policies and practices that welcome LGBT foster and adoptive parents. The program seeks to enhance LGBT cultural 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 16 seals of recognition. In September HRC launched a “50 state strategy,” with the goal of securing at least one ACAF-recognized adoption agency dedicated to working with LGBT families in every state. More information about the initiative can be found at www.hrc.org/acaf.
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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