Amy Contrada theinteramerican.org It's now official policy in Massachusetts: Adults holding traditional values will no longer be allowed to adopt or be foster parents. On May 15, 2013, the Boston Bar Association held a forum with the Mass. Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the Mass. Commission on LGBT Youth. The DCF speakers confirmed that they are "weeding out" adoptive and foster parents who are not willing to wholly accept and support LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender) self-identification by a child in their care. The general topic of the evening was the growing number of LGBT youth needing foster care. The hour-long event can be seen on YouTube. (Video credit:CatchoftheDay Video News.) The shocking admission of the DCF's discriminatory policies towards parents holding traditional values comes in the last few minutes of the video. Summary of major points at the forum Erika Rickard, Vice Chair of the Mass. Commission on LGBT Youth and herself a foster parent, called attention to the urgent need for "supportive" foster parents for LGBT youth (who, she estimates, make up about 20% of youth in foster care in the state). The Commission is working in conjunction with the Mass. Department of Children and Families (DCF) to find them "safe, welcoming, and affirming homes." Pointing to their high levels of rejection by their families, DCF wants to be sure these youth are placed with adults who completely accept the child's self-identification as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer. They have found that many adults who say they're OK with sexual orientation and gender identity issues before the child is in their home then change and don't give "proper support." Every social worker in the Massachusetts DCF system now has LGBT issues training (first reported by my MassResistance blog in 2005). The DCF also now runs a mentoring program for foster and adoptive parents. The 8-hour course includes discussion of sexual orientation, gender identity, and trauma understanding. One DCF staffer, Jody, hopes to have the True Colors Out Youth Theater group (part of the Theater Offensive) perform at every regional office as part of staff training. She recommends that the group PFLAG (Parents Families Friends & Allies of LGBT People) speak to all foster parents on how they can show their acceptance and support. Jody recruits foster parents. She emphasized that the foster parent has to be able to support whatever develops with the child, for example, if he comes out as gay, or learning disabilities become obvious. to read more click here: theinteramerican.org
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