APA Champions Disability and LGBT Issues Around Adoption and Foster Care
Association co-sponsors briefing and supports key legislation
APA co-hosted a June 11, 2014, congressional briefing on “Rocking the Cradle: Ensuring the Rights of Parents with Disabilities and Their Children,” which focused on adoption and foster care issues. Following the briefing, APA representatives met with Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., to deliver the association’s support letter for his legislation to curb discrimination that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons face in becoming adoptive or foster parents.
Representing APA at the briefing was David Brodzinsky, PhD, research director, Donaldson Adoption Institute, and professor emeritus of clinical and developmental psychology, Rutgers University. Brodzinsky presented his research on adoption and nontraditional families. He described the lack of research specifically on parents with disabilities who adopt and the indications that children can thrive in these homes.
Left photo: David Brodzinski, PhD, (center) addresses attendees at the briefing on parents with disabilities, with Robyn Powell (left) and Colleen Gioffreda (right). Right photo: (from left) Leo Rennie (APA), Judith Glassgold, PsyD (APA), Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., David Brodzinsky, PhD, and Meghann Galloway (APA).
Brodzinsky then attended a meeting with APA staff, Rep. Lewis and his legislative director. There, APA’s party handed the congressman a letter of support for the Every Child Deserves a Family Act (H.R. 2028/S. 1069). The legislation:
- Prohibits adoption and foster care agencies that receive federal funds from discriminating against prospective adoptive or foster parents on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status.
- Provides technical assistance on these measures.
- Requires a federal study of compliance with the bill’s provisions.
The National Council on Disability, National Association of Social Workers and Child Welfare League of America collaborated with APA on the day’s congressional briefing. In addition to Brodzinski, the panel comprised:
- Colleen Gioffreda, national adoption coordinator, Little People of America.
- Traci LaLiberte, PhD, executive director, Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare, School of Social Work, University of Minnesota.
- Roby Powell, attorney advisor, National Council on Disability; lead author of “Rocking the Cradle: Ensuring the Rights of Parents with Disabilities and Their Children.”
- Linda Spears, vice president of policy and public affairs, Child Welfare League of America.
Their remarks also focused attention on issues around the barriers faced by individuals with disabilities in becoming adoptive or foster parents.
A recent NCD report, “Rocking the Cradle: Ensuring the Rights of Parents with Disabilities and Their Children,” illustrated the discriminatory practices taking place in foster care and adoption systems. These barriers forestall opportunities for prospective parents with disabilities to open their homes to children who desperately need them. Despite the growing need for foster and adoptive parents, this means that prospective parents with disabilities remain an untapped resource.
Advancing the rights of individuals with disabilities and sexual minorities represent longstanding priorities for APA. To participate in these and other advocacy efforts, please sign up for APA’s Federal Action Network.