Bend the Arc Supports the Every Child Deserves a Family Act 5-19-15

May 19, 2015
Re: Bend the Arc Urges Cosponsorship of the Every Child Deserves a Family Act
Dear Senator/Representative:
In honor of National Foster Care Month, I write to you today about an important bill
that I urge you to cosponsor, the Every Child Deserves a Family Act (ECDF). This
legislation—reintroduced today by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Representatives John
Lewis and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen—could open up millions of homes for the more than
400,000 children in our nation’s foster care system.
Focused on the best interests of children in care, ECDF ensures that otherwise eligible
foster and adoptive parents are not turned away simply because of their sexual
orientation or gender identity and expression. The primary reason hundreds of
thousands of children remain in, or age out of, the foster care system is a lack of
qualified homes. This is a moral travesty. The bill also prohibits discrimination on the
basis of the sexual orientation and gender identity and expression of the child involved.
As Jews, we are reminded throughout our sacred texts that the orphan, along with the
widow and the stranger, need and deserve our special protection. As the largest national
Jewish social justice organization focused exclusively on domestic policy, Bend the Arc
cares deeply about creating an America in which all children can grow up with loving,
supportive families that will set them on the path toward happy and healthy adulthood.
It is unconscionable that we allow baseless discrimination to prevent qualified
prospective parents from creating loving homes and families for children whose birth
parents could not provide for them. These barriers are not only an affront to human
dignity; they fail our society’s most vulnerable children.
Again, I urge you to support the Every Child Deserves a Family Act (ECDF) and create
a federal standard of nondiscrimination that enables more loving parents to open up
their homes to children in foster care.
Hadar Susskind
Director, Bend the Arc Jewish Action