Yesterday, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced the Every Child Deserves a Family Act (S. 1770), which would prohibit any entity that receives federal assistance and is involved in adoption or foster care placements from discriminating against prospective adoptive or foster parents solely on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status. One major goal of the legislation is to increase the number of foster and adoptive placements available to children in the foster care system. Currently there are an estimated 400,000 children in the U.S. foster care system, and more than 107,000 children currently waiting to be adopted, but Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) couples or individuals who want to adopt or become foster parents still face discrimination in more than 30 states.
In announcing the introduction of the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, Gillibrand stated, “By removing all barriers for LGBT families to serve as foster parents, New York State has increased its foster parent pool by 128,000 prospective parents. This legislation would open thousands of new foster and adoptive homes to children ensuring they are raised in loving families.” The house companion bill, H.R. 1681, was introduced by Representative Pete Stark (D-CA), back in May.
November is recognized as National Adoption Month, a time to raise awareness about the adoption of children and youth from foster care. To date, Representative Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) and Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) have introduced bicameral resolutions supporting the goals and ideals of National Adoption Day (November 19) and National Adoption Month.