New Williams Institute Analysis Shows Negative Impacts to Florida Budget of “Conscience Protection” Law
For Immediate Distribution
April 7, 2015
Lauren Jow, email@example.com, 310-206-0314
LOS ANGELES — About 2,460 adopted children and 160 foster children are being raised by lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals or same-sex couples in Florida, according to a memo released today by Williams Institute Research Director and Blachford-Cooper Distinguished Scholar Gary Gates and Policy Analyst Taylor Brown. If those 160 foster children were to be adopted by their foster families next year, the state could save more than $1 million by not keeping them in the foster care system.
A proposed bill, titled “Conscience Protection for Private Child-Placing Agencies,” HB 7111, currently under debate in the Florida House of Representatives would allow private adoption agencies licensed in Florida to refuse to place children with LGBT individuals and same-sex couples.
The proposed bill would allow agencies to make foster care or adoption placement decisions in accordance with their “religious or moral convictions.” Agencies could refuse to place a child with a potential parent because of the parent’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The state would not be able to deny or revoke the agency’s license if the agency cites a religious or moral objection.
“Research shows that adoption and the stability that comes with it is good for kids and improves their chances for success in life. It’s also less expensive for the state. Savings to Florida’s budget are jeopardized if LGBT families experience barriers to adopting foster children from private adoption agencies who object to providing services to them,” Gates said.
The memo was written in response to a request from Florida State Representative David Richardson (FL-113).
Based on analyses of a survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Gates and Brown estimate that more than half of LGB adults in the United States would consider adopting a child (compared to 37% of non-LGB adults). In Florida, that implies that there are an estimated 53,000 prospective LGB adoptive parents.
In 2013, the state received $3.5 million in incentive payments from HHS related to their success in finding adoptive homes for children in foster care. These incentives are put at risk when adoption becomes more difficult for perspective LGBT parents in the state, according to the memo.