May is National Foster Care Month—a time to recognize the importance of families and lift up the voices of youth in foster care.
Adoption and foster care programs exist to serve the best interests of vulnerable children, and yet there are 11 states that allow religious child placement agencies to discriminate.
The John Lewis Every Child Deserves a Family Act would fix this problem by prohibiting discrimination based on religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and marital status in the adoption and foster care system.
No longer could taxpayer funded adoption and foster care agencies cite religion to discriminate against atheist or LGBTQ children and potential parents.
This bill will help hundreds of thousands of children and youths find safe environments and eventually their forever families, free from religious coercion and discrimination. Currently, there are over 400,000 children who need placement in our foster care system and about 125,000 children waiting to be adopted into a forever family.
Allowing discrimination against qualified families based on the religious beliefs of others reduces the number of available families and harms these vulnerable children.
The John Lewis Every Child Deserves a Family Act will also protect young people in child welfare systems from religious coercion, such as coercive religious conversion and dangerous conversion therapy.
Together we can help each child find a forever home, free from religious coercion. We must prioritize the best interests of children—not those who would discriminate against them.