Today Representative Pete Stark (CA-13) introduced Every Child Deserves a Family Act (H.R. 4806), a child welfare bill that takes into consideration the best interests of children in the foster care system. The bill would open up permanent homes to more foster youth by working with states to eliminate laws, policies, practices and procedures that exclude potential adoptive and foster parents because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status.
As the House Ways and Means Committee begins to review and analyze this bill, we need you to urge your representative to co-sponsor this critically important legislation that will help give foster children permanent, safe and supportive homes.
Tragically, approximately 125,000 foster children across the US are waiting to be adopted. With only 50,000 adoptions each year, there is a clear shortage of adoptive parents. The result is that children, especially minority and special needs children, languish in foster care and bounce from placement to placement. The 25,000 youth who never find a permanent family and “age out” of the system each year are more likely than nearly any other group to experience poverty, homelessness, incarceration, early pregnancy or suffer with mental illness or substance abuse.
Despite the need for more adoptive and permanent foster homes; some states have enacted discriminatory bans that prohibit children from being placed with qualified parents due to the parent’s sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status. The result is less children being adopted and more children bouncing around the foster care system with no permanency and no security. In some cases these bans have resulted in a grandparent having to go through costly litigation in order to care for their own kin who are in foster care. This kind of discrimination does a disservice to many children who need a permanent, safe and supportive home. It robs far too many young people of a family, a core value that many Americans hold dear, and it’s time to take a stand.
Click here to e-mail your representative to co-sponsor and pass the Every Child Deserves a Family Act (H.R. 4806). Loving homes are on the line for far too many children seeking a permanent, safe and supportive home to call their own.