Efforts to “eliminate” faith-based adoption agencies that don’t place children with same-sex couples are “not in the best interest” of kids stuck in the nation’s foster care systems, Chuck Johnson, president of the nonpartisan National Council for Adoption, warned Monday.
While Johnson supports allowing LGBT families to adopt, he argued that banning agencies opposed to LGBT adoptions on religious grounds is not in the best interest of foster kids. Allowing faith-based adoption agencies to continue their work wouldn’t prevent LGBT families from adopting, because they can use other agencies; it would only reduce the number of agencies providing adoption services, he pointed out.
Johnson spoke at the Heritage Foundation’s headquarters during a panel discussion on ongoing efforts to punish faith-based adoption agencies across the United States through state and local policies that bar agencies from discriminating against prospective parents on the basis of sexual orientation.
“We try to avoid the whole conversation about who should adopt because we have concluded accurately that there is no right to adopt,” Johnson said during the panel. “Once you start talking about this group adopting or this group not adopting, you really take the focus off children and you begin to focus on the grown ups and the agencies and the organizations.”
Johnson noted that his organization — which represents public, private, secular and religious entities — doesn’t take a position on the issue of “who can adopt.” However, he stressed that with tens of thousands of kids in the United States in need of adoption, the idea of barring agencies with a faith-based mission because of the LGBT issue would only be detrimental for kids and families.
Because of the opioid crisis, Johnson said that that there are as many as 118,000 kids in foster care in the United States in need of adoption. Such a figure is a 14 percent increase from 2012 even though there has been a 10 percent increase in the number of adoptions, he added.
The rise in unadopted foster children comes as faith-based providers in Massachusetts, Illinois, Washington, D.C., and California have had to halt their adoption services in the last decade-plus because of state and local policies preventing agencies from turning away LGBT parents.
Additionally, the discussion comes after the city of Philadelphia last month suspended partnership with two faith-based adoption agencies who refused to place kids with same-sex parents.
“To eliminate faith-based agencies from the field of service over ideology, to take away their licenses, which is happening in states, to prevent them from entering into contracts to provide these services for public entities …, it is going to end up with seeing fewer resources for children in foster care and children will go unadopted,” Johnson warned. “Again, I can’t imagine that we would be good with that if it is not necessary.”
On the flip side of the issue, Johnson also stressed that many families who are adopting and fostering are from the LGBT community and that eliminating the LGBT community from the adoption picture would also lead to more unadopted children.
However, Johnson stressed that forcing faith-based groups to place children with same-sex parents would not actually provide the LGBT community with a service it is not already receiving.
“When faith-based agencies are allowed to continue to provide these services rather than being forced out, nothing has changed,” Johnson said. “Gay and lesbian families clearly have access to other providers since they are adopting and fostering in all 50 states.”
Johnson stressed that faith-based agencies have served their populations “for generations” without opposition being raised to their policies.
“When we talk about changing something, when we talk about forcing faith-based agencies out of the arena of providing adoptive and foster care services, I am just not sure how that is in anyone’s best interest,” Johnson said. “If your position is just to eliminate faith-based agencies from the field of service, how does eliminating them improve foster adoption services? If you can’t answer that question, I don’t think we need to be having this conversation.”
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Source: Christian Post