Gay and lesbian parents are in high demand in one of America’s largest cities. According to The Wall Street Journal on Sunday, New York City is launching a campaign to recruit gay and lesbian foster parents. The campaign is designed to diversity the foster system and created more welcoming homes for LGBTQ children.
According to the report there are nearly 13,000 children in the foster-care system, and although it is not clear how many of those children identify as LGBTQ, the campaign recognizes the importance of placing those children in homes where they will be accepted, loved and supported for who they are. Ronald Richter, commissioner of the Administration for Children’s Services, says the campaign will give recognition to LGBTQ people.
“When we decided to do this campaign we knew that LGBTQ young people are disproportionately represented in our foster care population, especially among our teens.”
There are many gay New Yorkers who don’t realize that the city allows them to become foster parents. The campaign also educates and provide resources as to how to begin the process. One couple, Peter Decaro and Kevin Leavy, have fostered two children and say they were surprised as to how encouraging the foster care agency they worked with was.
Decaro stresses the importance of fostering a child before jumping into adoption.
“We went into this strictly thinking of adoption, but when we got the call in December, we looked at each other and said, ‘It’s a week before Christmas, these children need us’. They’ve been with us since. I can’t imagine my life without them now.”
This is the difference the campaign hopes potential LGBTQ foster parents will have on a child. There are many youth who will hide who they are out of fear of not being accepted. It is important that these kids our placed in homes where they can feel comfortable and not placed in homes that are intolerant of their gender identity, sexuality or expression.
But city officials are not just focused on LGBT youth, they are hoping to find more diverse homes for children in the foster-care system in general as well as finding parents who are educated and success driven as positive role models for all children.