Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) May 13, 2013

 

The history of LGBT family building is the focus of a gala fundraiser on May 19 at the W Hollywood Hotel. The event is hosted by RaiseAChild.US, a Los Angeles-based organization that encourages the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to build families through fostering and adoption. Four families who have been leaders in that history will be honored, as well as Susan Edelstein, director of UCLA TIES for Families, and Peter Paige and Bradley Bredeweg, co-creators of “The Fosters” television drama on ABC Family.

“The season of Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and National Foster Care Month is a perfect time to celebrate the many different kinds of families who can provide safe, loving and permanent homes for children in the foster care system,” says RaiseAChild.US founder and executive director Rich Valenza.

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The families honored are led by the first out lesbian couple to adopt in California, two dads whose son was adopted internationally more than a decade ago, a single openly gay man who adopted more than ten years ago, and two dads—comedian/actor duo Alec Mapa and Jamie Hebert—who adopted more recently through the foster system and have dedicated themselves to promoting this option to LGBT people. Susan Edelstein, LCSW will receive the Advocate Award for her dedication to helping foster and adoptive families through UCLA Ties for Families, which she founded almost two decades ago. Peter Paige and Bradley Bredeweg will receive the Advocate Award for creating, writing, and producing “The Fosters,” a television drama that portrays a multi-ethnic family of adopted, foster and biological kids being raised by two moms, which premieres on June 3 on ABC Family.

“Our honorees are nothing short of heroic,” says RaiseAChild.US co-founder and media director John Ireland. “Simply living their lives openly as families, championing LGBT-led families, and painting robust characters for inclusion in television dramas, these men and women have paved the way for those of us just forming our families. LGBT families are no longer invisible—their examples are winning hearts and minds, and most importantly, advancing our opportunities to find safe and loving homes for the 400,000 children in the foster care system.”

In an effort to reduce the number of children in the U.S. foster care system and find safe and loving homes for them, RaiseAChild.US encourages the LGBT community to build their families through fostering and adoption. Through RaiseAChild.US’s media campaigns and outreach in the last 18 months, the organization has already recruited 800 prospective parents.

According to 2010 U.S. Census data, children are being raised in over one million LGBT-headed households. In a recent research study by the Williams Institute of UCLA, LGBT people are four times more likely to adopt than their heterosexual counterparts, and six times more likely to foster than the straight population.

RaiseAChild.US works closely with the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s “All Children – All Families” (ACAF) initiative, which provides professional training and technical assistance to foster care and adoption agencies that want to welcome and support LGBT foster and adoptive parents. To date, ACAF includes nearly 70 participating agencies across the country and has awarded 30 seals of recognition.