Wednesday, March 11, 2009

More on Butler County

Can I just make a confession? I'm usually very critical of Equality Ohio and the ilk, but, after my meeting with her, I have to say that I have a mini-lesbian crush on Lynne Bowman. Seriously. 

And so, as my very own moment of standing outside her window with a radio over my head (not in the creepy sort of way, but in the cool 80s romantic comedy way), let me repost her action alert regarding the Butler County Children's Services awfulness going on:
Did you know?

A ballot measure in Arkansas restricting adoption or foster parenting to opposite-sex married couples passed last November.

A bill restricting adoption or foster parenting to opposite-sex married couples recently passed in the Tennessee House of Representatives.

A bill restricting adoption or foster parenting to opposite-sex married couples recently passed in the Kentucky Senate.

Last week, media outlets in Southwest Ohio announced that Butler County Children Services has adopted an official policy which gives preference to "traditional couples" over single people or same-sex couples in the county's foster care and adoption cases.

This is the informal policy in a number of other Ohio counties, but Butler County is the first to make their policy public.
Could other counties follow Butler County's lead? Is it a coincidence that Butler County is the home of Ohio's leading anti-equality organization (Citizens for Community Values)?

Could Ohio be the next state targeted for an adoption and foster parenting ban?

In Ohio it is unlikely such a legislative ban would succeed. However, as we learned in 2004, fighting a ballot initiative would be costly. And regardless of how far we like to think Ohio has come in 5 years, winning on this issue would be a challenge.

You might be asking:

What Can I Do? How Can I Speak Out?

Share your story, whether you are lesbian, gay, straight, bisexual or transgender, about either being an adoptive or foster parent or being the child of adoption or foster parenting. Ohioans need to know that creating unnecessary barriers to placing children is not in the best interest of Ohio's children. Click here to share your story;

Send a letter to the editor to the Cincinnati Enquirer speaking factually about the damage restricting the pool of qualified potential parents does to Ohio's children.

Use their online form to send a letter to the editor of The Cincinnati Enquirer.
Or mail to:
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Letters to the Editor
312 Elm Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Please include your name, address (including community) and day phone;

Send a letter to the Butler County Commissioners, the governing body for Butler County Children Services, speaking factually about the damage restricting the pool of qualified potential parents does to Ohio's children and ask them to reverse their position;

Butler County Commissioners (Donald L. Dixon, Gregory V. Jolivette, Charles R. "Chuck" Furmon)
315 High St., 6th Floor
Hamilton, OH 45011;

Send this email to at least 10 people that you know and ask them to do the same;

Invest in equality in Ohio. These are tough times economically, and every dollar helps;

We are moving forward on pro-equality legislation and need you to make it happen.
Register today for Lobby Day scheduled on May 13, 2009;

Contact us if you want to help us sign up people to support our mission;

Visit your legislator and be sure that as a constituent you are represented.
Anti-equality measures will only end when we can demonstrate that our pro-equality values and vision are shared by the people of Ohio. We are not there yet. There are many hearts and minds to be reached - Reached and changed. Changed by our reality, our humanity, and our truth.


Lynne Bowman

Additional information about Butler County:

Policies such as the one adopted in Butler County do nothing but create additional barriers to finding loving, safe homes for the children who need them. Leading experts in the field of child welfare including the Child Welfare League of America and the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute agree that the placement of children in foster or adoptive homes should always be made with the child's best interest in mind.

Children's Services Director Michael Fox has said that the Butler County policy's purpose is not to discriminate but to give children the best chance at succeeding. National experts in the field of child welfare overwhelmingly agree that there are no data to support the idea that a parent's sexual orientation has any bearing on the future success of a child.

The reality in Ohio is that many children are currently being raised by same-sex parents. Butler County Children Services is the first children services agency in Ohio to publicly share their policy. If we don't speak up now, other counties will inevitably do the same and this is not in the best interest of Ohio's children. Our pro-equality voices need to be heard.

Just last year, Butler County Children's Services reported that of the more than 350 Butler County children living in foster homes or a similar settings, 70% were placed outside the county. At the time, an active campaign to increase the number of foster parents was undertaken. Now, rather than worry about the best interest of the children they are sworn to care for, Butler County Children's Services is further limiting the pool of foster and adoptive parents by creating an unnecessary policy that wastes precious time and resources.

Ohio's children deserve better than this.
What is to be done, folks? Where do we go from here? And I'm totally taking credit for helping get the word out on this one -- with a huge nod to Jay. Not for any particular reason, but just because I can. :-)

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