There are more than 440,000 children in our foster care system nationwide, with over 120,000 of them waiting for a permanent family. More than 20,000 youth “age out” of care each year without any family and with limited support and resources. To address this problem, the Every Child Deserves a Family Act (ECDF) was recently introduced in Congress - by Rep. John Lewis in the House and Sen. Gillibrand in the Senate.
ECDF is a federal bill that promotes the best interests of children by increasing the number of foster and adoptive homes available to all foster children and improving services to LGBTQ and religious minority foster children. ECDF does so by prohibiting federally funded child welfare service providers from discriminating against children, families, and individuals based on religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and marital status.
ECDF bans conversion therapy for children receiving or participating in federally funded child welfare programs or services. It promotes the well-being, safety and permanency of, and culturally competent care for, the 1 in 5 foster children who identify as LGBTQ and suffer greater rates of mistreatment and worse outcomes than non-LGBTQ foster youth. It does so by increasing access to best practices, resources, and technical assistance to states, tribes, and service providers, and by requiring data collection on LGBTQ foster youth and parents.
PFP Director Stephanie Haynes recently had an opinion piece printed in the Philly Inquirer on the topic and the Philly Gay News covered the introduction of the bill on June 20th.
PFP is a proud member of the coalition supporting ECDF led by Family Equality. Director Stephanie Haynes and board member Tariem Burroughs recently got to speak to Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Bob Casey about the bill (pictured) and look forward to meeting with other local members of Congress to ask for their support.
Contact your member of Congress to ask for their support by clicking here.