Local Briefs • 02.08.13

Posted on 08 Feb 2013 at 11:30am

Agency seeks LGBT foster parents

GARLAND — More LGBT parents are needed to help care for the more than 2,000 abused and neglected children living in foster care in Dallas County on any given day.

Each year, more than 3,000 children go through the foster system in the county because they cannot safely live with their parents.

A panel discussion for LGBT people interested in fostering and adopting through Child Protective Services takes place on Saturday, Feb. 9, at Jonathan’s Place, a home-style emergency shelter for abused, abandoned and neglected children.

Despite anti-marriage laws in Texas and an attorney general who has aggressively opposed LGBT families, CPS welcomes LGBT foster and adoptive parents.

Leslie McKinney, a foster/adoption case manager at Jonathan’s Place, said her agency has placed a number of children in loving LGBT homes and is looking for more.

She said there are a number of criteria for prospective parents to keep in mind.

“We’re looking for stability in your life,” McKinney said.

She said foster parents must be at least 21 and couples must be together at least a year. Newer couples who are thinking of adopting later are welcome to attend and begin the process.

Single people are also eligible to foster and adopt.

“We’re looking for stability in your relationship with your family and friends,” she said.

Prospective parents must complete several classes before they become foster parents.

McKinney said to consider the resources you have, although a high income is not a requirement.

“You need other people to help you out,” she said. “A support system.”

A foster child would need a room separate from the parent and can only share a room with a sibling or foster-sibling of the same gender and similar age.

Speakers will include LGBT foster and adoptive parents, a family law attorney specializing in LGBT adoption and a Department of Family and Protective Services representative. A question and answer session follows.

McKinney said there are other ways to help children in the foster system, including volunteering with Court Appointed Special Advocates. CASA advocates are appointed by judges to speak for the best interests of abused and neglected children, helping them get safe, permanent homes as quickly as possible.
Statewide, 28,800 children are in foster care and 10,700 of these children are waiting for adoptive families.

The panel takes place at Jonathan’s Place, 6065 Duck Creek Road, Garland, from 11 a.m.–1 p.m. RSVP at therapy@inclusivecounseling.com.

— David Taffet

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 8, 2013.

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