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NBJC Responds to Every Child Deserves a Family Act of 2013 (ECDF)


In response to today’s announcement of the planned reintroduction of the Every Child Deserves a Family Act of 2013 (ECDF), NBJC Executive Director Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks released the following statement: 

On behalf of the Black lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, I am proud to stand with Congressman John Lewis, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, in addition to our lead ally organizations Family Equality Council and PFLAG, as they announce the planned reintroduction of the Every Child Deserves a Family Act (ECDF), a powerful move in affording LGBT families across the nation the dignity and recognition they deserve.  

According to research compiled by the Movement Advancement Project, there are approximately one million LGBT parents, many of them of color, who are already raising about two million children in the U.S. If passed, ECDF would help legitimize these families by prohibiting federal resources from funding foster care and adoption programs that discriminate against potential adoption families because of marital status, gender identity, sexual orientation, or the gender identity of the adoptive child. 

The fact is that 59% of the estimated 400,000 children currently in the U.S. foster care system are children of color, and 28% of the approximately 104,000 children waiting to be adopted are Black. For as long as we can remember, Black LGBT families have been creating welcoming temporary and permanent homes for these and many other children, often with significantly fewer resources and protections than their white or heterosexual counterparts. However, in the absence of legislative action by Congress, Black LGBT parents and children will continue to suffer under the confusion and injustice dictated by the various state laws that do not recognize or respect our families.

NBJC is committed to fostering a collective effort to accord dignity and respect to all Black families. What is clear is that there are hundreds of Black children that are looking for the security of a caring family, and that there are even more Black LGBT couples and individuals that are ready to provide a loving home for our kids. It is time that the federal government set a benchmark that helps to guarantee that these families are afforded the legal status and governmental support that honors the dignity of all of our families, regardless of how they’re made. 

The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS.