In November 2019, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services proposed a rule amendment that weakens protections afforded by the Obama Administration to LGBTQ individuals seeking to foster or adopt children, as well as the children themselves. Similar efforts are underway at the state and local level, including through litigation, such as Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, No. 18-2574, which is scheduled to be argued in the U.S. Supreme Court in the upcoming term. If successful, these efforts would significantly impede the placement and permanency of thousands of children in the homes of loving families. As of 2018, there were 437,283 children in foster care, of which 125,422 children were waiting to be adopted. A significant number of these children were fostered and/or ultimately adopted by LGBTQ individuals. Indeed, recent statistics show that over 138,000 same-sex couples are raising adopted children, and over 18,500 same-sex couples serve as foster care parents. Statistics also show that between 2 million and 3.7 million children under age 18 have an LGBTQ parent, of which approximately 200,000 are being raised by same-sex couples. In addition to adversely impacting the placement of children, these efforts pose significant and long-term risks for children. By reducing the pool of qualified parents, children in foster care are more likely to age-out of the system; and upon doing so, face a significantly higher incidence of homelessness, chronic unemployment, and incarceration. This workshop will explore the vital roles that LGBTQ individuals play in our foster care system and adoption community and will address the deleterious impact that recent legal efforts may have on pathways to permanency for our youth, particularly our LGBTQ youth. Another workshop will delve into the related legal issues.
Speakers: Marcy Chell (Child and Family Services Agency); Cynthia Cubbage (The Barker Adoption Foundation); Douglas Dreier (Wiley Rein LLP); Holly Goldmann (Casa Ruby); Antonio Reynolds (Wiley Rein)
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