When Foster Care Agencies Discriminate Against Potential Parents, The Kids Suffer Most

Susan Vivian Mangold, Reggie Shuford, philly.com •

When Nicholas first came into foster care at age 13, he was scared and anxious. His first foster home was in Bucks County, more than an hour from the Philadelphia neighborhood where he was born and raised. He was separated from his baby brother, who was placed with a different foster family. Then, Nicholas and his brother were moved to the home of a newly licensed lesbian couple in his old neighborhood. “I feel really comfortable here,” Nicholas told his foster moms after about a month in their home. He now is able to see his friends, cousins, and brother every day and remain connected to his community.

The Philadelphia Department of Human Services (DHS) stood up for kids like Nicholas when it suspended referrals to two foster care agencies that reportedly deny LGBTQ couples the opportunity to foster parent, pending an investigation by the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations. In making this move, DHS is rejecting discriminatory practices, for the benefit of foster children.

Catholic Social Services, which has sued the city, can remain open — when it stops discriminating against LGBTQ families. For all youths, but especially for LGBTQ youths, refusing to allow LGBTQ parents to serve as foster and adoptive parents sends the wrong message and denies much-needed familial resources.

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