Letter to Kentucky Senators: Stop This Foster & Adoption Ban

Yesterday we called on our supporters nationwide to stop the ban on
unmarried couples, straight and gay, from fostering and adopting
children in Kentucky. Thousands of you heard our call and took
action, telling Kentucky Senators to oppose Senate Bill 68, the
so-called “Child Welfare Adoption Act.” The bill will likely be
voted on in Kentucky’s Senate today.

Jennifer Chrisler, Executive Director of Family Equality Council,
sent the following letter to Kentucky Senators this morning, urging
them to oppose this bill and support policies that actually serve
the best interests of children.

*If you live in Kentucky or know someone that does, call or
have them call the Legislative Hotline now to tell their Senator
and Senate Leadership to oppose SB 68. The number is
1-800-372-7181. For more information on SB 68 and opportunities to
take action
in Kentucky, visit http://www.fairness.org or http://www.kentuckyfairness.org. Join the Facebook
Group “SB 68 HAS to be STOPPED” to spread the work

Letter from Jennifer Chrisler to Kentucky Senators

March 10, 2009

RE: Opposition to (SB 68) the so-called “Child Welfare
Adoption Act”

Dear Senator,

On behalf of the thousands of supporters of Family Equality
Council, the national organization working to ensure equality for
lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender families by building
community, changing hearts and minds, and advancing social justice
for all families, I urge you to oppose Senate Bill 68, the
so-called “Child Welfare Adoption Act.” SB 68 would ban all
unmarried couples – straight and gay – from serving as foster
and adoptive parents. SB 68 is bad for families, contrary to
well-established child welfare policy principles, and an
unnecessary drain on Kentucky’s strained economy.

SB 68 would hurt children who need homes and the prospective
parents who want to foster and adopt them. There are 7,027 children
currently in foster care in Kentucky waiting for homes. SB 68’s
categorical exclusion of unmarried couples from serving as foster
and adoptive partners regardless of their qualifications denies
these children access to good parents. It is also contrary to the
social science research, which shows that the more emotional and
financial resources available to children, they better they do. SB
68 categorically excludes two parent homes that may be rich in the
resources children need.

Additionally, SB 68 ties the hands of case workers who are best
positioned to determine the families that are best suited to meet
each child’s needs, which is why it is opposed by the Kentucky
Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. It is
well-established child welfare policy that placement decisions
ought to be made on a case-by-case basis based upon what is in the
child’s best interest, as opposed to blanket bans on adoption and
foster parenting regardless of the circumstances and the child’s
needs. The rigorous individualized evaluations of all applicants
ensure that only those who can provide a safe, stable, nurturing
home are approved. SB 68’s blanket exclusion throws away couples
that child welfare experts may deem to be good parents, none of
whom Kentucky’s waiting children can afford to lose.

Finally, SB 68 is an irresponsible fiscal burden to add to the
Commonwealth’s economic crisis. According to the attached report
issued at Senator Kathy Stein’s request by the Williams Institute
at the University of California Los Angeles’ School of Law, SB 68
would cost Kentucky $5.3 million in its first year. Discarding
available qualified parents and leaving more children in foster
care means the state has to pay more to take care of these
children. It also means a loss of significant funding that the
federal government provides to Kentucky for each child it places
for adoption out of the foster care system.

For all of these reasons, I urge you and your colleagues to stand
up for children and families and support sound policy and
established child welfare practices by opposing SB 68


Jennifer Chrisler
Executive Director