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NASW joins amicus brief supporting Philadelphia’s authority to prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ people in foster care program


PHILADELPHIA, PA - Voice for Adoption, The North American Council on Adoptable Children, The National Association of Social Workers, and The Child Welfare League of America yesterday filed an amicus brief supporting the City of Philadelphia’s authority to prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ individuals in its foster care program. 

Fulton, et al. v. City of Philadelphia, et al., pending in the US Court of Appeal for the Third Circuit, considers whether Philadelphia can enforce its anti-discrimination laws against foster agencies that refuse on religious grounds to certify same-sex couples as prospective foster parents. 

Philadelphia prevailed in front of the district court in July, which led to an appeal by foster care agency Catholic Social Services. Represented by pro bono counsel at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, the four organizations—all non-profit organizations dedicated to improving child welfare and foster care and adoption policy across the United States—describe the harm to foster children that would result from permitting agencies to refuse to certify same-sex couples as foster parents. 

Drawing on the organizations’ extensive experience, the brief explains that a diversity of foster and adoptive families is needed to help ensure that all children find loving and supportive families—and that gay and lesbian parents are essential partners in this effort: “Allowing foster agencies to deny certification to same-sex couples on the basis of LGBTQ status shrinks the pool [of potential foster parents] and hinders the primary goals of foster care placement: the child’s safety and well-being, and stability that leads to the child’s having a permanent family.”

Read this post on NASW's Social Work Blog to read the full amicus brief.

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), in Washington, DC, is the largest membership organization of professional social workers. It promotes, develops, and protects the practice of social work and social workers. NASW also seeks to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through its advocacy.

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