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Human Rights Campaign Releases New Employer’s Guide to Adoption Benefit Programs

(WASHINGTON D.C.) – The Human Rights Campaign yesterday announced the release of a groundbreaking resource “Adoption Benefit Programs: LGBT Considerations for Employers,” which provides standards and guidelines for insuring equity for all employees who adopt. The release is timed to coincide with National Adoption Month, which raises awareness about the thousands of children and youth in foster care waiting for a “forever family.”

“Leading employers know that providing optimal benefits for all employees is simply good business, and the right thing to do,” said Human Rights Campaign Foundation President Joe Solmonese. “With the release of this resource we highlight the key role employers can play in making adoptions possible for LGBT parents and the children that need them.”

Nearly 500,000 children and youth are in foster care in the U.S., 130,000 of which await permanent families today. Over 20,000 exit the foster care system as adults without ever finding a family. While studies show nearly four out of 10 Americans have considered adoption, many are concerned that the costs will be an obstacle. Adoption benefits are a growing trend among businesses — and more U.S. employers than ever now offer them, according to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.

“Providing benefits to families who adopt not only creates goodwill among employees but a sense of parity with families who receive benefits when they create or expand their families through birth,” said Rita Sorenen, President of the Dave Thomas Foundation. “For families who adopt from foster care, it is particularly meaningful to have additional supports, such as paid leave, in place. And as Dave Thomas always said, 'For employers, proving adoption benefits is not only the smart thing to do, it is the right thing to do.'”

The HRC Family Project’s “All Children – All Families” initiative, a program aimed at finding permanent families for children by promoting LGBT cultural competence among child welfare professionals, is celebrating National Adoption Month with a blog series throughout November and a national web chat on LGBT adoption that will take place on November 19 from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. EST.

“LGBT families are a wonderful and often untapped resource for children and youth in need of stable, loving homes” said Ellen Kahn, Director of HRC’s Family Project. “Our goal is to chip away at all of the inequities and obstacles that prevent us from pursuing adoption, and this new resource gives us a great step forward in that effort.”