RaiseAChild.US Opposes New Bill That Allows Religious Foster & Adoption Agencies to Discriminate Against LGBT Parents & Families

A bill introduced in Congress by Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) would allow religious foster and adoption agencies to deny services to same-sex and unmarried heterosexual couples, LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) and heterosexual singles, and people from other religions.

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“The Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act of 2014 is harmful to foster children,” said Rich Valenza, Founder and CEO of RaiseAChild.US. “It is a misguided attempt to go back to claiming religious rights ahead of the real needs of foster children. At a time when RaiseAChild.US is successfully growing a larger, more diverse and inclusive pool of safe, loving, and permanent homes for the 400,000 children in our nation’s foster care system, this bill tries to shrink and edit that pool of prospective parents by using taxpayers’ funds to promote intolerance, discrimination, and homophobia.”

RaiseAChild.US is the only U.S. nonprofit organization that encourages and assists the LGBT community in building families through fostering and adoption through direct services and its Parent Advocate mentorship program. The organization’s success rate for moving interested foster and adoptive prospective parents through the training and certification process has proven to be five times greater than the industry’s national average.

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“This bill runs contrary to the beliefs of most faith-based communities, recent national polls, and what science overwhelmingly tells us: that there are no differences in children adopted by heterosexual versus same-sex couples,” said Valenza. “My hope is that all people who have children’s best interests at heart will contact their elected representatives in Washington and let them know this kind of legislated hatred will not be tolerated. To solve the nation’s foster care crisis we need to expand the available pool of prospective parents, not reduce it.”

More than 16,000 same-sex couples are raising an estimated 22,000 adopted children in the U.S., according to the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law. Societal acceptance of LGBT-headed families is growing rapidly, and scientific studies are showing that the sexual orientation of parents does not negatively affect their foster adopted children.

In support of positive legislation that puts children’s needs first, RaiseAChild.US has joined forces with Family Equality Council and a coalition of more than one hundred child welfare, foster/adoption, civil rights, religious, and LGBT advocacy organizations in support of the Every Child Deserves A Family Act. This legislation focuses attention on the best interests of children in the foster care system. By eliminating state laws, policies, practices, and procedures that exclude potential adoptive and foster parents because of their marital status, sexual orientation, or gender identity, this bill will dramatically increase access to permanent, loving homes for children in foster care.

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Administration for Children & Families, there are 400,000 children in our nation’s foster care system. More than 104,000 of these children have had parental rights terminated and are waiting to be adopted. Families certified for both foster and adoptive placements are in short supply.

RaiseAChild.US finds prospective parents through media campaigns that include outdoor advertising, radio and television public service announcements (PSAs), print media, social media, and special events. All prospective parents who sign up at events or at the RaiseAChild.US website receive free information, support, and mentorship through the organization’s unique Parent Advocate program. Since 2011, RaiseAChild.US has engaged more than 2,200 prospective parents nationally and become a leading organization for public education and advocacy on behalf of these children.

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