Fulton v. City of Philadelphia: Discrimination Keeps Kids Waiting for Homes that are Ready for Them

Fulton v. City of Philadelphia is a Supreme Court case that could have profound impact on LGBTQ+ families and youth in foster care. Family Equality filed an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief in this case. The brief aims to lift up the experiences of LGBTQ+ foster parents. This National Foster Care Month, as the Supreme Court inches closer to a decision in this case, we’re highlighting voices from our brief to show the real-life impact of discrimination. To read the amicus brief we submitted to the Supreme Court, click here.

David and Robert’s Story

“We had three empty bedrooms to accept kids in need, but we were continuously overlooked.”

David and Robert Dickson were qualified, licensed foster parents. But, agencies repeatedly passed over them for placements because of their sexual orientation. Knowing that the system was failing them – and more importantly failing the children who needed homes – they took matters into their own hands. Using an automated phone system that could not judge them for whom they love, David and Robert finally were able to foster-to-adopt four kids.

David and Robert’s story is unique. Had they not been able to access that automated phone system, discrimination could have kept them from adopting altogether.

In the context of a child welfare system with more than 420,000 children in care, it’s unconscionable. There are children languishing in care, while warm beds ready and waiting for them sit empty.

Creating Better Outcomes

It is well established that children in the child welfare system have better outcomes when placed in loving, affirming homes. For example, youth in family care have better educational outcomes, have fewer placements, and are less likely to be homeless. The best practice, as established by the nation’s leading child welfare experts, is for children in care to be placed in family environments as quickly as possible. When parents are qualified and approved to open their homes, they should be welcomed with open arms.

They should not have to “fight like hell,” like David and Robert did, to fill their warm beds.

Learn more about Fulton v. City of Philadelphia

#DecisionDay Fulton

#DecisionDay: Fulton

The Supreme Court will issue its opinion in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia this spring. On the day the court issues its opinion, we’re joining NEAT and other partners for a Virtual Rally and Town Hall. The rally will be a chance for us to gather together as a community to react to the decision, support each other and hear from speakers and performances. Then, the Town Hall will feature experts providing analysis of the opinion, how it will affect our lives, and what still needs to be done. RSVP to those events here.