Friday, January 3, 2020


BETHESDA, MARYLAND -- The Barker Adoption Foundation recently filed comments in opposition to a Federal Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which if promulgated, would allow persons or organizations receiving grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to discriminate in their provision of adoption and foster services based on gender identity or sexual orientation. Of significant concern to Barker is the negative impact this Rule would have on children in foster care and those waiting to be adopted. As of September 30, 2018, there were 437,283 children in foster care, of which 125,422 were waiting to be adopted.

In its compelling filing, Barker relies upon peer-reviewed research that soundly demonstrates the devastating effects for children and families if this Rule were to go into effect. Among the greatest concerns noted is an expected significant reduction in the pool of qualified parents able to provide adoptive and foster homes. LGBTQ individuals and couples are critical to the public child welfare system with 21.4 percent of same-sex parents raising adopted children (compared to just 3 percent of opposite-sex parents) and 2.9 percent of same-sex parents caring for children in foster care (compared to 0.4 percent of opposite-sex parents). By shutting out these loving parents, the Proposed Rule would increase the length of time children spend in foster care, increase resulting health and economic disparities for these vulnerable children, and lower adoption rates. Barker rebukes any attempt at such publicly-sanctioned discrimination.

Barker is proud to join all of the major child welfare advocacy organizations in the United States in our uniform opposition to allowing the use of religious or sexual orientation as a placement factor in the public child welfare system and will continue to act courageously in taking public positions on this and other matters that stand in the way of any child’s right to have a loving family.

The Barker Adoption Foundation was represented in this matter by pro bono counsel from Wiley Rein, LLP, including Douglas Dreier, Lukman Azeez, Antonio Reynolds, Kathryn Bucher, and Rachel Alexander.  

You may read Barker’s comments here.