Texas Law Allows Child Welfare Agencies to Discriminate Against Adoptive Parents and LGBTQ Foster Children

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Before this past week, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed to a regulation House Bill 3859, which permits spiritual (and tax-payer funded!) Foster care and adoption agencies to refuse providers “under circumstances that conflict with the supplier’s sincerely held religious beliefs.” In other words, when this law goes into effect adoption agencies will have the ability to reject potential parents if they are in a same-sex marriage.

On this week’s Big Time Dicks, Prachi and that I talked with Currey Cook, the manager of the Youth at Out-of-Home Care Project and counsel in the national headquarters of Lambda Legal Concerning the law.

Cook clarified that this does not just influence adoptive parents–kids in foster care also affect. Under the law, agencies will have the freedom refuse to comprehend sexual orientation or that their gender identity, or to refuse care to kids.

“When they [nurture kids] are then assumed to be served in the area where they reside by one of these contract agencies, and that bureau says, ‘Whoa, you’re a trans kid? We don’t do that. We don’t believe trans kids exist. That means that you may come here, but we’re just going to view you since the gender you’re assigned at birth,”’ Cook said. “So they could either say no, we’re not gonna serve you, or we’ll serve you, but you need to subscribe to our set of beliefs.”

Cook additionally pointed out that the law is especially alarming given at rolling back efforts to maintain civil rights, the Trump administration’s efforts.

“If you are a young person or a family, and you have been discriminated int he context of the child welfare program, the people that you would complain to is that the Office of Civil Rights in the Health and Human Services branch of this authorities. Therefore, if you’re turning to them and they’re not interested in if you have been discriminated on account of your sexual orientation or gender identity or they’re downsizing… We’ve got these amazing federal protections now but when we’re at a situation and we’ve got the fox guarding the hen house, or there is just no one guarding the hen house, where does that leave you?”

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