California Gov. Newsom Signs Law Requiring Foster Parents to Show They Will Support Children’s ‘Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity’
California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed a new law requiring foster parents to prove that they will support an LGBTQ child’s “sexual orientation or gender identity.”
The bill, SB 407, directs the Department of Social Services to amend the foster care vetting process to deny a family the right to foster children based on their beliefs about gender theory.
State Senator Scott Wiener introduced the legislation, which he says “ensures LGBTQ foster youth are raised in supportive environments by creating standard documentation for their needs, adding more follow-up from the Department of Social Services, and requiring LGBTQ youth’s needs be specifically considered in at-home assessments – including clarifying that conduct that poses risk to the health and safety of LGBTQ youth is a valid reason to deny a family the right to host a foster youth.”
“Every child deserves to be one hundred percent supported at home,” said Senator Wiener. “SB 407 ensures that foster youth receive this essential support by specifically requiring LGBTQ acceptance be considered in the resource family approval (RFA) process, creating standard documentation for the assessment of LGBTQ youth needs, and ensuring more frequent follow-up. These youth are at high risk for homelessness, criminal justice involvement, and mental health issues, and we must do everything in our power to ensure they have a safe home in the state of California.”
There were 53,371 youth in foster care in California as of October 1, 2022. An estimated 30 percent identify as LGBTQ.
According to a press release from Wiener’s office:
SB 407 will strengthen the resource family approval (RFA) process for LGBTQ foster youth by:
Requiring explicit consideration of LGBTQ youth in home and environmental assessments;
Creating standard documentation by the Department of Social Services for these assessments to include LGBTQ youth needs;
Reviewing county-approved resource families to evaluate if they are meeting the needs of LGBTQ youth and investigating related incidents as needed;
Ensuring that resource families have the necessary skills, knowledge, and abilities to support LGBTQ youth; and
Clarifying existing law that conduct that poses risk to the health and safety of LGBTQ youth is a valid reason for denial of a resource family.
The bill was one of several signed by Newsom on Saturday regarding LGBTQ issues.
According to a report from ABC 7, Newsom also signed “AB 5, which sets implementation timelines for required LGBTQ+ cultural competency training by public school teachers and staff; SB 857, which will establish an advisory task force to identify LGBTQ+ pupil needs statewide and assist in implementing supportive initiatives; and AB 223, which requires any petition for a change of gender and sex identifier by a minor to be kept confidential by the court.”
“California is proud to have some of the most robust laws in the nation when it comes to protecting and supporting our LGBTQ+ community, and we’re committed to the ongoing work to create safer, more inclusive spaces for all Californians,” said Newsom in a statement. “These measures will help protect vulnerable youth, promote acceptance, and create more supportive environments in our schools and communities.”