On June 17th, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Philadelphia area Catholic agency that discriminates against same-sex couples who wish to become foster or adoptive parents. This ruling comes at a time when there is a widespread shortage of licensed foster parents, and a particular shortage of LGBTQ+ foster parents who are more likely to understand and provide loving homes for LGBTQ+ youth. LGBTQ+ youth are overrepresented in foster care, and experience myriad challenges as a result of foster parents who do not affirm, or outright reject their identities. LGBTQ+ foster families should be actively sought out to help provide care for this population of children, yet many face discrimination, if and when they attempt to become foster parents (for more background, please read this P4C brief.)
Federal legislation could protect LGBTQ+ prospective foster families from discrimination. The John Lewis Every Child Deserves a Family Act would prohibit any child welfare service provider that receives federal funds from discriminating against children, families, and individuals due to their religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status, and ensure that all children in the child welfare ystem receive culturally relevant, identity-affirming care. The goal of the legislation is to increase the number of high quality foster and adoptive homes available to children in foster care by ensuring that no prospective foster parent is turned away due to their identities. Read more about the legislation here.