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Support LB380, Support Adoption for All Familes

**This post was written by Mika Covington at Forward Equality.  It is being re-posted with permission here.

As State Senator Sara Howard’s adoption bill LB 380, moves forward in the Nebraska Legislature, Forward Equality would like to share information on LB 380 and why it is so important for Nebraska’s children and families.

LB 380 will provide for two unmarried adults to jointly adopt and clarifies provisions in the State law to allow for second parent adoption. This bill will protect children and allow families the protection of the law that they need.

The Child Welfare League of America and the American Civil Liberties Union found that that there are an estimated 500,000 children in foster care nationally and many of these children had spent more than 36 continuous months in foster care. They have also found that children who lack a permanent home suffer serious damage. These children frequently become victims of the “foster care shuffle,” in which they are frequently moved to different homes. A child in permanent foster care can live in 20 or more placements by the time he or she reaches age eighteen. Consequently, children trapped in long-term foster care often suffer from increased emotional problems, delinquency, substance abuse, and academic problems.

This is why the State Legislature needs to pass LB 380, to allow all of the unmarried qualified families to jointly adopt. This will open up more possibilities for children who are waiting for a qualified loving couple to adopt them. This will help decrease the number of children in foster care and decrease the amount of time these children are in the foster care system, which will also save the taxpayers money.

Not only will it allow for more children to be adopted into a loving family it will help protect current families that have been seeking legal parental rights and responsibilities over the child or children they are currently co-parenting but without those legal parental rights and responsibilities because current Nebraska law does not provide for second parent adoption.

Right now in Nebraska, there are many children in unmarried families where there are two parents but only one has legal parental rights and responsibilities over the children because joint adoption for unmarried couples and second parent adoption are prohibited in the State of Nebraska. This is harmful to those children and families. These non-adoptive co-parents lack legal security. Therefore, if the biological parent dies, the children can be removed from their home and families, then co-signed to strangers, losing both parents, and possibly siblings and other relatives, at a time when the child most needs stability.  In addition, the non-adoptive co-parent lacks the legal ability to make emergency medical decisions for his or her child.  (American Psychological Association; National Association of Social Workers; Nebraska Chapter, National Association of Social Workers; Nebraska Psychological Association Brief of Amici Curiae in Re: Adoption of Luke Case No. S-01-0053)

Second parent adoption has many benefits to the family and to protecting children. Those benefits include but are not limited to psychological and social, stability, legal security regarding custody and visitation, social security, life insurance, right to sue for wrongful death of a parent, right to inherit, and eligibility to put children on both parents’ health insurance policies. (American Psychological Association; National Association of Social Workers; Nebraska Chapter, National Association of Social Workers; Nebraska Psychological Association Brief of Amici Curiae in Re: Adoption of Luke Case No. S-01-0053)

Forward Equality would like everyone to call and email the Judiciary Committee Members and ask them to support and vote for Sara Howard’s adoption bill LB 380.  Here is a sample letter and the contact information for the Senators:

Dear State Senator (Senators First and Last name),

I would like to ask you to support Sara Howard’s adoption bill LB 380.

LB 380 will provide for two unmarried adults to jointly adopt and clarifies provisions in the State law to allow for second parent adoption. This bill will protect children and allow families the protection of the law that they need.

The Child Welfare League of America and the American Civil Liberties Union found that that there are an estimated 500,000 children in foster care nationally and many of these children had spent more than 36 continuous months in foster care. They have also found that children who lack a permanent home suffer serious damage.

This is why the State Legislature needs to pass LB 380, to allow all of the unmarried qualified families to jointly adopt. This will open up more possibilities for children who are waiting for a qualified loving couple to adopt them. This will help decrease the number of children in foster care and decrease the amount of time these children are in the foster care system, which will also save the taxpayers money.

Thank you for your time and please consider supporting this bill.

Sincerely,

Your Name

State Senators Contact Information Judiciary Committee

Please CC Forward Equality in your email at mika.covington@forwardequality.com

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