LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said it is committed to ensuring LGBTQ+ families feel welcome and valued as foster and adoptive parents.
The department announced its intent to expand support for LGBTQ+ families who want to become foster or adoptive parents.
The announcement comes after the department signed a settlement agreement that ends a lawsuit filed by a private child welfare agency challenging its non-discrimination policy.
The Supreme Court made a unanimous decision that limits MDHHS’s ability to enforce its non-discrimination policy under certain circumstances. MDHHS officials said the decision is binding on Michigan.
“While this outcome is not what we hoped for, we are committed to providing support to the many members in the LGBTQ+ community who want to open their hearts and their homes,” said Demetrius Starling, executive director of the MDHHS Children’s Services Agency. “Many children who have experienced the trauma associated with abuse and neglect need temporary foster homes while we work to reunify them safely with their parents. A smaller number of youth need adoptive homes. We are so appreciative of all families that step up to help these children – no matter their orientation or gender identity and expression.”
MDHHS is expected to assess any service gaps or program enhancements necessary to meet the needs of LGBTQ+ families.
“I applaud MDHHS’s commitment to supporting LGBTQ+ families and our state’s most vulnerable children,” said Attorney General Dana Nessel. “All children deserve the best opportunity possible to be placed with a loving and nurturing forever family, and it remains my honor to represent an agency with those enduring values.”
Officials said there are around 10,500 children in foster care in Michigan. Around 2,100 have a goal of adoption and there are about 220 children still waiting for an adoptive family.
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