Reducing adoption barriers
This week, a pair of lawmakers worked to make it easier for foster children to find good homes. Reps. Terri Sewell, D-Ala., and Lloyd Smucker, R-Pa., drafted legislation to remove some of the red tape surrounding adoption and enable relatives to become foster parents. Research shows placing foster children in the home of a family member results in children spending less time in foster care, higher stability of placement, and continued benefits after exiting state custody. Some states still have outdated adoption policies that make it difficult for children to get placed with family members. In some parts of the country, authorities aren’t required to notify relatives when a child enters the foster care system. Other states can’t allow relatives to take in foster children because they can’t offer the child her own room—often a safety requirement. But Sewell and Smucker argue it’s better for a child to share a room with her cousin than have their own space in a stranger’s home. The legislation, which passed the House 382-19 on Tuesday, would direct the Department of Health and Human Services to modernize foster care licensing standards that states can use as a model to update their own standards to make it easier for foster children to get placed with a relative. — Evan Wilt
Gender pronouns in Canada
Last week, Canada passed a law criminalizing any kind of discrimination based on gender identity or gender expression. The measure, which adds legal protections to the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code, passed Canada’s Senate 67-11 on June 15. Opponents argue the law mandates, among other things, the use of genderless pronouns upon request. Under the law, Canadians who refuse risk being charged with a hate crime, fined, jailed, or forced to attend anti-bias training. “Mark my words, this law will not be used as some sort of ‘shield’ to defend vulnerable transsexuals, but rather as a weapon with which to bludgeon people of faith and free-thinking Canadians who refuse to deny truth,” Jack Fonseca, senior political strategist for Campaign Life Coalition, told LifeSiteNews. The bill requires assent in the House of Commons to become law. —K.C.