We have too many children in need of stable, loving homes, and qualified and committed foster and adoptive parents to exclude any prospective parent or parents on the basis of arbitrary discrimination.
Recent accolades tout Virginia as the #1 business friendly state in the nation. This is a wonderful and deserved honor, but as a lifelong Virginian I cannot fathom how as a Commonwealth we can exceed in so many areas, while not addressing that our state continues to trail most other states in finding permanent placements for our most vulnerable children. Exclusive and discriminatory policies regarding who may be a foster care or adoptive parent have not worked in the past and will not work in the future if the state is committed to improving permanency and stability for vulnerable children and youth.
If expanding our ability to find loving, nurturing safe homes for foster care and other vulnerable children is not convincing enough, it is also important to keep in mind that adoption, even supported adoption, costs the state and its tax payers far less than keeping children in foster care or other unstable situations that reguire public intervention.
I believe that the policies regarding who may be a foster or adoptive parent should be as inclusive as possible, while the standards of care and accountably should be among the highest. By more openly expanding who the state may consider as foster and adoptive parents, the quality and availability of adoptive placements will only increase.