We've reported before on legislation introduced by State Representative Phyllis Mundy to create a “Children in Foster Care Act” to identify and protect rights of our most vulnerable children. The significant problem with this legislation is the need to strip protections for LGBT children out to ensure passage.
Representative Phyllis Mundy of Luzerne County says she has introduced her “Children in Foster Care Act” legislation during every session since 2005. But this time, she’s made some adjustments that may make the bill more popular, by omitting a section that would have protected children against discrimination based on sexual orientation. Because many children are in foster care because of their sexual orientation, she says the clause would be relevant in the bill of rights. However, since she’s had trouble passing it with that inclusion, she says she’d “rather pass an imperfect bill than no bill at all.”
I've been in touch with a few co-sponsors and determined that the language protecting LGBTQ foster children could be reintroduced as an amendment. That is an opening we cannot afford to miss, friends. If we don't step up to protect children in our own community, who else can they count on?
The list of cosponsors is here (there are 42). These are friendly folks so simply drop them a line saying thank you for cosponsoring and ask them to remember that LGBTQ kids in foster care need protection, too. Every one of you who reads this blog has some personal story to add … a memory of your own experiences as an LGBTQ teen or a story from your loved one's life. You just have to ask them to do this. The legislation has bipartisan support so if the legislators from Western PA can head in to a vote with your comments to back up their vote, you can make a difference.
Peter Daley (Washington and Fayette counties) Email him.
Dan Frankel (Allegheny County) Email him.
Patrick Harkins (Erie County) Email him.
Deberah Kula (Westmoreland and Fayette counties) Email her.
Tim Mahoney (Fayette County) Email him.
John Pallone (Armstrong and Westmoreland counties) Email him.
Joe Preston (Allegheny County) Email him.
Chelsa Wagner (Allegheny County) Email her.
May is Foster Care Awareness Month so I'll be following this legislation and the story.
The legislation is current in the Children & Youth Committee.
Stay tuned …