|Action||Adopt new standards for licensed private child-placing agencies.|
|Comment Period||Ends 4/1/2011|
As an adoptive parent, I have been deeply impressed by the efforts made by a faith-based agency in this state to place children in excellent family environments according to their best professional and ethical judgment.
This is why the proposed Virginia Social Services regulation 22 VAC 40-131-170 (B) causes me to have grave reservations. The findings of social scientists demonstrate that family structure is not a matter of indifference. Marriage and family status are demonstrably relevant when assessing the success of adoptive and foster placement. If an agency is not permitted to weigh these factors according to its own best judgment when making placement decisions, it is being forced to abandon its professional and ethical obligations toward the children they serve.
Agencies must not be required to accept any individual who applies to become a foster or adoptive parent regardless of whether that individual meets the agency's standards.
The effect of this proposed regulation would be to force agencies to either violate their own best-practices principles, or leave the child placement field altogether. Neither of these outcomes will serve the best interests of children in Virginia.
I urge you to heed the legitimate objections of the faith-based agencies, and drop this proposed regulation.