Voice For Adoption Position Statement

Agencies Should Not Be Allowed to Discriminate Against LGBTQ Families, Children, and Youth (pdf)
Voice for Adoption (VFA) and our 17 member agencies advocate on behalf of the 112,000 children in foster care waiting to be adopted and the families that adopt them. We are committed to the belief that every child deserves to have a safe, permanent, and loving family. 

We strongly oppose policies and practices that categorically discriminate against prospective parents, including but not limited to discrimination based on age, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, marital status, family size, disability, medical condition, geographic location, employment status, occupation (including employment in the child welfare system), and educational attainment. 

We support making decisions about matching children with prospective foster and adoptive parents on a case-by-case basis, based on the strengths of the family, safety of the home, and the best interests of each child. 

Giving agencies permission to discriminate against a class of people—that is, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender (LGBT) individuals—is not in the best interest of the more than 427,000 children in foster care, and the more than 20,000 youth who age out of foster care each year without family or permanent connections. Children deserve every opportunity to be cared for in a family, and blocking LGBT prospective foster and adoptive parents limits that opportunity. Decades of research demonstrates that children who grow up with one or two parents who are gay or lesbian fare as well in emotional, cognitive, social, and sexual functioning as do children whose parents are heterosexual.    

There are already an estimated two million children in America being raised by LGBT parents or same-sex couples. The Williams Institute concludes that there are an additional two million LGBT people across the country who would consider fostering or adopting children from foster care.  Laws, policies, and practices that deliberately limit or prevent qualified LGBT parents from coming forward harm our nation’s children who are waiting for permanent families. Policies that prevent discrimination against these individuals and couples are there for a reason—to ensure that all children have every opportunity to have the family that is right for them.

Just as important are protections that prevent agencies from discriminating against children and youth in foster care who are LGBTQ. Such discrimination could mean that agencies transfer cases to other agencies or refuse to offer certain necessary services. Children who have experienced abuse and neglect and who have been removed from their family have been traumatized. Denying them care would add another layer of abuse and trauma—all at the hands of the system designed to protect them above all else. 

Agencies providing services on behalf of the government have an obligation to serve all Americans, regardless of their religion, race, ethnic background, sexual orientation, or gender identity. By taking children into foster care, the government has accepted an obligation to care for these children. It must then do all in its power to ensure that they have what each of us wants and deserves—safety, permanency, and family. 

Discrimination against LGBTQ people should not be allowed to stand. It will ultimately harm the very people we seek to protect—children who need care and the families who care for them.