|Action||Adopt new standards for licensed private child-placing agencies.|
|Comment Period||Ends 4/1/2011|
Though I am not a resident of Virginia, I work for an agency that protects the interests of children who are removed from their homes due to abuse and neglect and placed in foster care. The circumstances from which some of the children I’ve worked with and for should boggle the mind of any rational, well-adjusted adult. Any and all impediments to the placement of at-risk children in safe, stable and loving homes should be removed. A child in need is not concerned with the “race, color, gender, national origin, age, religion, political beliefs, sexual orientation, disability, or family status” of the people who have agreed to care for and nurture them in a positive and meaningful way. Truth be told, some of the most dedicated foster and adoptive parents that I’ve come in contact with have been gay men and lesbians who, like infertile and/or single heterosexuals, are completing the families they always wanted to have. Being a gay man or a lesbian should not make one less worthy of contributing to society by raising a child to be a competent, productive, and kind adult.
Many others posters are claiming that the prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation by private agencies working with public social service agencies is discrimination in itself. I would urge those posters to educate themselves as to what discrimination actually is. There is nothing within the revision that stops religious organizations with continuing to provide their services privately. It only ends the participation of a public service organization in discriminatory practices. If religious based placement agencies would like to abandon their mission and service to children in deference to prejudice, fear and ignorance then that is between them and their God. As for the proposed revision, I can only see it as an attempt to align policy with the values and ideals that we should all seek to pass on to our children and foster in our communities.