The measure, known as Act One on our Arkansas ballot, would make it unlawful for cohabitating couples to adopt or serve as foster parents. Two groups are now going head to head against each other for our vote.
The group called Arkansas Families First held a news conference at the State Capitol Wednesday morning announcing their campaign against the measure. Doctor Eddie Ochoa, a pediatrician, spoke on their behalf.
Ochoa says, "We don't think an arbitrary policy that would disqualify people is a good thing for Arkansas children because we need homes to place them especially for children with complicated physical and mental health needs."
The group has requested a hearing that will take place Thursday morning at the DHS offices in downtown Little Rock. Group members plan to testify against a policy that keeps cohabitating unmarried adults from being foster parents.
The DHS policy currently says cohabitating adults that are not related cannot be foster parents. They do allow homosexuals to be foster parents, but they must be single. According to department spokesperson Julie Munsell, having an unrelated adult in the home, like a roommate or domestic partner, could pose safety issues because only the foster parent has met the state requirements.
Understanding that it's already DHS policy to not let unmarried couples be foster parents or adopt, the family council wants it put into state law. Family Council President Jerry Cox attended the press conference. Cox says, "It's an unnecessary distraction because the Department of Human Services is trying to protect children, these groups have stepped in they have an agenda and now they're complicating the process."
At at the hearing Thursday, Arkansas Families First will be asking the state to suspend its policy banning unmarried couples from fostering children.
Protect the children from what Mr. Cox,,, from being in a loving home? It seems to me, by making this practice into a law, it's supports sending more of them to orphanages and group homes where they're not very likely to have any protection. The nuclear family only consists of about a third of the family groups in the U.S. and, in my humble opinion, the numbers are not likely to grow, so it's time to get out of the pulpit/off the high horse and out of the bedrooms of Americans.
The DHS should be more diligent at doing background checks and gathering character references before placing a child; why can't they do this as easily with unmarried couples as they can with married ones? They place children in single parent households, are these people not allowed to date or have relationships while fostering?
It would be perfect if a safe loving home, made up of a loving, married, couple could be found for every child, but it isn't going to happen. I think the focus should be on just the safety and the loving home and piece of paper doesn't make either of those things so.