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Governor Under New Pressure to End Adoption Discrimination

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Graphic: Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell is under pressure to expand his adoption initiative. Graphic from Executive Office of the Governor
Graphic: Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell is under pressure to expand his adoption initiative. Graphic from Executive Office of the Governor
 By Alison Burns, Public News Service - VA, Contact
May 17, 2013

RICHMOND, Va. – As Gov. Bob McDonnell launches an initiative today to increase adoptions of foster children in Virginia, grassroots groups say the state is still leaving out too many prospective parents.

Even though single people can adopt, Virginia does not allow two people to adopt the same child unless they are a legally married man and woman.

Claire Gastanaga, executive director of the ACLU of Virginia, says other policies in the state also allow state-funded adoption agencies to disqualify people based on sexuality, age and religion.

"What matters and should matter in terms of looking for forever homes for our children is their best interest," she says.

ACLU of Virginia and the group Equality Virginia sent a letter to the governor this week asking him to open the way to adoption or foster care for more prospective parents.

Gastanaga says Virginia's record for finding permanent homes for foster kids clearly needs improvement.

"We are the number one state in the nation in the percentage of kids who are in foster care and never find a forever home," she says.

There are about 4,000 children in the foster care system in Virginia. McDonnell's new campaign aims to adopt 1,000 Virginia children out of foster care in 2013.




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