HRC Responds to HHS Proposed Removal of Sexual Orientation Data from Federal Child Welfare System

by Madeleine Roberts

WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization — responded to the Trump-Pence administration’s latest attempt to undermine the rights and welfare of LGBTQ people. A proposed rule change from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) 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).

“The Trump-Pence administration’s latest assault on the LGBTQ community threatens to harm some of the most vulnerable youth in the foster care system,” said HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy. “LGBTQ youth are tragically overrepresented in foster care, and this attempt to erase them and important data on adoptive and foster parents undermines efforts to address the marginalization, harassment and discrimination that LGBTQ youth in foster care and families face. It’s crucial that fair-minded voices speak out now and demand that HHS reject this proposed rule change.”

The Children’s Bureau at the Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families is slated to publish the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) this Friday, April 19, in the Federal Register. The public will have 60 days from then 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.

LGBTQ youth are overrepresented in foster care, and fear of discrimination causes many LGBTQ parents to turn away from foster and adoption agencies. In a recent study, 70 percent 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 percent fearing being turned away because of their LGBTQ identity. Fifty-six percent were worried that agency staff wouldn’t be LGBTQ competent.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organizations working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.


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