A bill requiring prospective foster families in California passed Friday and heads to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk to require foster families to, “demonstrate an ability and willingness to meet the needs of the child regardless of the child’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.”
California state Sen. Scott Wiener announced Senate Bill 407’s passing on social media, saying that his bill to “ensure foster parents understand the need to support LGBTQ foster youth.”
“Our bill to ensure foster parents understand the need to support LGBTQ foster youth — who are 30% of foster youth — & not kick them out, abuse them, or traumatize them (SB 407) is on its way to the Governor, having passed both the Senate & the Assembly,” Wiener wrote on X. “Thank you, colleagues!”
In his bill, the Wiener claimed that 30% of California’s foster youth identify as LGBTQ and need protection from physical and psychological abuse coming from non-affirming foster parents.
“Youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, or another diverse identity (LGBTQ) and gender-expansive youth are overrepresented in foster care, with at least three studies estimating about 30 percent of youth in foster care identify as LGBTQ,” Wiener alleged, citing three separate studies supporting his claims.
“LGBTQ foster youth are currently being placed in nonaffirming families that have been approved by counties and the state, causing additional harm and trauma,” he added.
“LGBTQ foster youth are currently being placed in nonaffirming families that have been approved by counties and the state, causing additional harm and trauma.”
Along with customary expectations for foster families, the bill says that the foster parents must demonstrate “an ability and willingness to meet the needs of the child regardless of the child’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, and that, should difficulties around these issues arise, a willingness to obtain resources offered by the county or foster family agency or other available resources to meet those needs,” to become foster a child in California.
The bill does not specify how prospective families must “demonstrate” their agreement to support LGBTQ foster youth.
In a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday by religious liberty group Becket Law, Mike and Catherine “Kitty” Burke specifically claim the state restricted them from fostering children in the state due to their adherence to Catholic teachings on gender, sexuality and marriage.
“After months of interviews and training, and after years of heartbreak, we were on the verge of finally becoming parents,” the couple said in a statement. “We were absolutely devastated to learn that Massachusetts would rather children sleep in the hallways of hospitals than let us welcome children in need into our home.”
The lawsuit claims that the state listed only one reason for denying the Burke’s foster application, which was that they “would not be affirming to a child who identified as LGBTQIA.”