June 13, 2019

Gillibrand Announces “Every Child Deserves a Family” Legislation to End Discrimination Against LQBTQ Adoptive Parents, Foster Parents and Children in the Federal Foster Care System and Help Give More Children a Loving Home

Approximately 120,000 Children in the Foster Care System are Waiting for a Home, but Discriminatory Laws are Keeping Them Away from Caring Families Who Want to Foster or Adopt Them, Based on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Marital Status and Religion; Legislation Would Support the Best Interests of Children, Foster Parents, Adoptive Parents Alike

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) today announced she has introduced the Every Child Deserves a Family Act to help give more children a loving home by ending current discriminatory laws that allow organizations to discriminate against prospective adoptive and foster parents based on sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, or religion. This legislation would also prohibit discrimination against children and youth in the foster care system on the basis of religion, gender identity, or sexual orientation, and would ensure that they are not subject to harmful practices, such as conversion therapy.

“Our nation’s foster care system is overburdened, and hundreds of thousands of children need a loving home,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “We should never allow organizations that receive taxpayer dollars to discriminate against caring and responsible foster and adoptive parents or children who deserve a safe and happy place to live because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, or religion. My legislation would end this outrageous discriminatory policy, create a system that supports the best interests of children, foster, and adoptive parents alike, and help open doors for more children in need.”

“Family Equality Council thanks Senator Gillibrand, Congressman Lewis and Congresswoman González-Colón for their leadership on the Every Child Deserves a Family Act," said The Rev. Stan J. Sloan, CEO of Family Equality Council. "There is a foster care and adoption crisis in this country today, with over 442,000 children in care, and over 123,000 waiting to be adopted. This crisis is compounded by discrimination, especially in ten states which permit agencies to turn away qualified foster and adoptive parents. Passing the Every Child Deserves a Family Act will end this discrimination, help ensure more children find the loving, forever homes they deserve, and improve care and outcomes for LGBTQ foster youth.”

According to the Family Equality Council, there are more than 440,000 children in the foster care system. 120,000 of these children are waiting for a permanent home. More than 20,000 children age out of care each year and don’t have a permanent home or adequate support or resources.

Specifically, the Every Child Deserves a Family Act would do the following:

  • Prohibit organizations receiving federal funding from discriminating against children, youth, families, and individuals on the basis of religion, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), and marital status in the administration and provision of child welfare services.
  • Ban conversion therapy for children participating in child welfare programs receiving federal funding.
  • Promote safety, well-being, and permanency for LGBTQ children in foster care.

The Every Child Deserves a Family Act is cosponsored in the U.S. Senate by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR). This legislation is sponsored in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressman John Lewis (D-GA-5) and Congresswoman Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon (R-PR).

The full text of the bill may be found here.