February 17, 2012
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Laws and policies that discriminate against otherwise qualified parents are failing the half million children in the foster care system, 120,000 of whom are eligible for adoption. We should be giving these children more places to turn, instead of needlessly and cruelly closing the door to safe, loving homes. They deserve care and permanency with their best interests at heart, not placements that forsake them for ideology or political gain. Accordingly, on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of members of People For the American Way (PFAW), we write urging your support and cosponsorship of the Every Child Deserves a Family Act (ECDFA) (S. 1770).
Federal and most state adoption and foster care laws leave lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans unprotected. But being LGBT doesn’t determine one’s ability to raise a child. More than thirty years of scientific evidence has shown that children raised by LGBT parents have the same advantages and the same expectations for health, social and psychological adjustment, and development as children raised by heterosexual parents. For instance, a November/December 2004 Child Development study confirmed no difference in psychosocial adjustment, self-esteem, depression, anxiety, or school performance between children raised by female same-sex couples and children raised by heterosexual couples. The children in the same-sex households actually had greater school involvement.
The tide is turning, but more progress must be made. S. 1770 would withhold a portion of federal funding from entities that discriminate in adoption and foster care placements based on the LGBT or marital status of prospective parents, or the LGBT status of the children involved. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would provide technical assistance to all affected entities. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) would study compliance with the law and any continued discrimination.
Ultimately, this is about increasing the number of loving, safe, and permanent homes, and decreasing the number of youths at risk for poverty, homelessness, incarceration, and early parenthood. All children deserve far better than that. And S. 1770 deserves your consideration.
Executive Vice President for Policy and Program
Senior Policy Analyst
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