Our Take on Missouri Attorney General’s Opposition to Supporting LGBTQIA+ Children in Foster Care

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey at swearing-in ceremony, January 2023. (Photo by Ozark Radio News)

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey opposes the support of LGBTQIA+ children in foster care.  In his news release, Attorney General Bailey says that he is a foster parent and disagrees with proposed rules by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that would, “…exclude people with deeply held religious beliefs from being foster parents.”

Let’s put the child’s needs front and center. When a child is taken into state custody and removed from the life they know – family, friends, neighbors, religion, schoolmates, etc. – we owe them a sense of connection and normalcy.

The purpose of foster parenting is to meet the needs of the child.  Every need.  Potential foster parents require 27 hours of training, during which this goal is repeated, again and again. Missouri has excellent foster parents who do that by: helping children heal from trauma; maintaining safe, appropriate relationships with biological family; meeting the cultural needs of the child; keeping them connected with their religion; retaining the child’s school origin; and, undoubtedly, being affirming of their sexual orientation/identity.

When possible, the very best placement is with a relative, called kinship care.

Locally, we have created a ground-breaking program, 30 Days to Family®, to identify an average of 150 relatives per child entering foster care.  This ensures the youth is placed with the kinship provider to meet all of the youth’s needs. Kinship care is proven to be best. One hundred and two studies involving 666,615 children prove that youth have better health, educational, and mental health outcomes when placed with appropriate relatives. Missouri is the national leader in kinship placement, as 50% of our youth are placed with relatives.

By the numbers, children in St. Louis-area foster care: have experienced trauma (100%); are African American (70%); and/or identify as LGBTQIA+ (30%).

For children who cannot be placed with kin, they must be placed with foster parents who can meet their needs.

St. Louis is a caring community.  For those who cannot foster, there are a myriad of other ways to support our children and families.  Each year, more than 4,000 St. Louisans do just that. Please reach out to us at the Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition to learn more.

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