Today, Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) and Congresswoman Jenniffer González-Colón (R-PR) reintroduced the Every Child Deserves a Family Act (ECDF) of 2019 in the US House of Representatives. This bill would improve services to LGBTQ+ children and children of religious minorities, prohibit taxpayer-funded child welfare agencies from discriminating against families and youth, and require child welfare services to respect and affirm LGBTQ+ and two-spirit youth in foster care.
As a leading child welfare organization in the US and Canada, the North American Council on Adoptable Children strongly supports the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, which promises to prioritize a child’s right to grow and thrive in a safe, permanent, and loving family.
LGBTQ+ parents, who are six times more likely than opposite sex couples to raise a child in foster care and four times more likely to adopt, are tremendously valuable to the adoption and foster care community. With more than 440,00 children in foster care across the US, and more than 123,000 children waiting for families, we must welcome and support these families instead of turning them away based on characteristics unrelated to their ability to parent.
By establishing nondiscrimination policies and requiring practices that affirm the complex identities of children and youth, the Every Child Deserves a Family Act will also make significant strides in supporting LGBTQ+ youth in care, who are overrepresented in the child welfare system, often face rejection from birth families or foster families, and can become targets for bullying because of the harmful stigma that too often still surrounds sexual orientation and gender identity.
More than 40 years ago, NACAC was founded on the belief that every child has the right to safe, permanent, and loving family. Since then, we have fought for policies and practices that protect this right. Today, NACAC is proud to stand with more than 500 child welfare, civil rights, and LGBTQ organizations as part of the Every Child Deserves a Family Campaign to ensure that the government upholds its legal, moral, and ethical obligation to prioritize the needs of children. For this reason, and the reasons outlined above, NACAC encourages Congress to take a concrete step toward improving the lives of thousands of children in care by supporting the Every Child Deserves a Family Act.
Join us in the fight for policies and practices that place children first. Learn more about the Every Child Deserves a Family Act here, and encourage your representative to support this bill by calling or emailing them today!