Last week the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) joined Voice for Adoption (VFA), the Donaldson Adoption Institute, and the North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) in issuing a joint statement on Parenting of Children by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Adults.

The statement says: (we) “believe that children deserve every opportunity to have a permanent, loving family, and that ruling out qualified prospective parents through discrimination limits options for permanency and stability for children waiting in temporary arrangements. We oppose policies and practices that categorically discriminate against prospective parents, including but not limited to discrimination based on age, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, marital status, family size, disability, medical condition, geographic location, employment status, occupation (including employment in the child welfare system), and educational attainment. We support making decisions about approving prospective parents and matching waiting children on a case-by-case basis, based on the strengths of the family, safety of the home and the best interests of each child.”

The statement comes in reaction to recent state legislative actions to pass bills that would allow state-contracted child placing agencies to restrict their placement policies based on the agency’s religious or moral convictions or policies. Last week CWLA issued a letter against HB 7111 in the state of Florida as an example of one of those bills. In that letter CWLA President and CEO Chris James-Brown said, “…when children are removed from their families by the State because of abuse or neglect, the State has a duty to place them in homes based on the children’s needs and the prospective family’s capacity to meet those needs…”

The joint statement by the four organizations references a growing number of studies in regard to the impact of diverse parent (s) groups on the development of children and says, “. Evidence shows that children’s optimal development is influenced more by the nature of the relationships and interactions within the family unit than by its particular structural form.”