Every Child Deserves a Family Campaign Launched to Promote Best Interests of All Children in Foster and Adoption Systems

Campaign fights bills that provide child welfare agencies with a ‘license to discriminate’; seeks to ensure safe, supportive care for all children in the child welfare system.

December 4, 2017 — For Immediate Release

NEW YORK, N.Y. — Today, Family Equality Council announces the launch of the Every Child Deserves a Family Campaign, to promote the best interests of all children in the foster care and adoption system by increasing their access to loving, stable, forever homes, and to ensure safe and supportive care for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) youth seeking family formation.

The Every Child Deserves a Family Campaign brings together a broad coalition of organizations from across the political spectrum, including child welfare organizations, child welfare professionals, advocacy and civil rights organizations, and current and former foster youth with lived experience in the child welfare system. Campaign members are united in the belief that no otherwise qualified foster or adoptive parent should be turned away due to their marital status, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Twenty founding campaign members join Family Equality Council in inviting everyone with an interest in securing safe, supportive, and stable homes for youth in care to sign up at www.familyequality.org/everychild.

“Seven states have already passed legislation allowing adoption and foster care agencies to discriminate against LGBTQ children, youth and qualified prospective parents — as well as other prospective parents who don’t pass an agency’s ‘religious’ test,” said Rev. Stan J. Sloan, CEO of Family Equality Council, “These ‘license to discriminate’ laws hurt all children waiting for a forever home by reducing the pool of potential parents. And, they harm LGBTQ youth, who represent 19% of youth in care, by allowing agencies to refuse to place them with affirming and accepting parents. The Every Child Deserves a Family Campaign is designed to oppose and repeal such bills at the state level, as well as advance the bipartisan federal Every Child Deserves a Family Act, which would provide lasting protection from this type of unacceptable discrimination.”

Jaime M. Grant, Ph.D., Executive Director of PFLAG National, explains: “All credible research has noted that LGBTQ people are loving, able, and worthy parents, and we know this because LGBTQ people have been successfully fostering and adopting kids for years, with many of us raising children in times of crisis within our extended families and social networks. Every child DOES deserve a family, and every prospective parent deserves to be treated with dignity and respect in the adoption and fostering process, inclusive of their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and marital status. PFLAG parents everywhere are committed to the best possible care for all youth, including those in the communities where our 400 chapters reside.”

The Every Child Deserves a Family Campaign has the strong support of child welfare professionals, including the Child Welfare League of America and the National Center for Adoption and Permanency. Chris James-Brown, President and CEO of the Child Welfare League of America, said: “CWLA believes that children and youth deserve every opportunity to have permanent, loving families, and that discriminating against potentially qualified prospective parents limits the options for these children and young people to achieve permanency and stability. We oppose policies that discriminate regardless of what that discrimination is based on. Instead CWLA supports placing a child in a home by matching children on a case-by-case basis, based on the strengths of the family, safety of the home, and best interests of each child.”

In additional statements of support for the campaign, Tyler Deaton, Senior Advisor to the American Unity Fund said “All children deserve a stable home and a loving family. American Unity Fund is proud to support the Every Child Deserves a Family Campaign and all families willing to foster and adopt children.”

Laura E. Durso, Ph.D., Vice President of the LGBT Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress, underscored the urgent need for action: “Each year, over 20,000 youths age out of the foster care system without finding a forever family. We should be embracing the estimated 2 million LGBTQ people who would consider serving as adoptive or foster parents, not giving child welfare agencies a license to discriminate and turn them away. Serving the best interests of children requires having nondiscrimination protections in child welfare systems and ensuring that agencies open their doors to all qualified parents.”

Unsurprisingly, Americans agree that every child deserves a family and that child welfare agencies must put children’s welfare first. A recent study showed that more than two-thirds of Americans — including a majority of Republicans and evangelicals — oppose allowing agencies receiving taxpayer funding to refuse placing children with gay or lesbian people.

We call upon all Americans who care about the welfare of our most vulnerable children to join us in insisting that Every Child Deserves a Family, and asserting that any legislation that provides child placing agencies with a license to discriminate, on any grounds, is an unacceptable step backwards in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of children.

Learn more at: www.familyequality.org/everychild

Founding Campaign Members

  • Family Equality Council
  • ACLU
  • American Unity Fund
  • Bend the Arc
  • Center for American Progress
  • CenterLink
  • Child Welfare League of America
  • Equality California
  • Lambda Legal
  • Movement Advancement Project
  • National Black Justice Coalition
  • National Center on Adoption and Permanency
  • National Center for Lesbian Rights
  • National Center for Transgender Equality
  • National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund
  • The Trevor Project
  • Union for Reform Judaism

About Family Equality Council

Family Equality Council advances legal and lived equality for LGBTQ families, and for those who wish to form them, through building community, changing hearts and minds, and driving policy change. Family Equality Council believes every LGBTQ person should have the right and opportunity to form and sustain a loving family, regardless of who they are or where they live.