Democrat Kansas Gov. Directs Foster Homes to Recognize Children’s ‘Preferred’ Identity

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Kansas Democrat Gov. Laura Kelly’s Department of Children and Families (DCF) has issued a policy directing foster homes to recognize the “preferred” gender identity of foster children “if it differs from their sex assigned at birth.”

Kelly has taken a sharp turn leftward on sexuality and gender issues since her predecessor, Republican Gov. Jeff Colyer, left office. She defeated Republican Kris Kobach in November.

According to the Associated Press (AP), DCF released in July – six months after Kelly assumed office – the draft “guidance” that urges foster parents to allow LGBTQ children in their care to “express themselves as they see themselves.”

“The fact of wanting children we’re caring for to feel safe and welcome in their foster homes just shouldn’t be a controversial issue to anybody,” said Laura Howard, DCF’s top administrator, in a recent interview, AP reported.

In May 2018, Colyer signed a bill into law allowing legal protections to faith-based adoption agencies whose beliefs center on placing children in traditional families with a mother and father as parents.

Soon after her election, however, Kelly said she would be seeking to block enforcement of the adoption law. The state legislature is still Republican-controlled with a platform that asserts, “We believe God created two genders, male and female.”

Now, conservatives worry the new policy directing foster parents to recognize whichever gender identity children claim to have is an attempt to get around that law.

“It’s going to continue pushing this envelope,” said Kansas House Majority Leader Dan Hawkins, a conservative Republican, who wrote in a newsletter about his concerns regarding biologically male children, claiming to be females, sharing bedrooms with biologically female children in foster homes.

Hawkins continued about his concerns:

Another directive is that child placement agencies hide the sexual orientation of children when making placements. An example of this would be a foster family hosting only female children asking for another female child and later finding out the child placed with them is actually a biological male.

The Republican leader warned against the state’s foster care system being used as “a social experiment or to push a social agenda.”

As AP reported, in June the Kelly administration announced transgender people would be permitted to change their birth certificates to reflect their gender identities, rather than their biological sex.

Family Policy Alliance of Kansas criticized the foster home policy as one with the message, “Conform to our ideology or get out.”

“This directive has been received by multiple foster agencies who place children across Kansas,” the group stated. “This is a fairly clear violation of the Adoption Protection Act passed during the 2018 legislative session. The Adoption Protection Act protects child placement agencies (like Catholic Charities and others) from discrimination by the government for their sincerely held beliefs.”

“Children needing foster care do not care about sexual politics as much as Governor Kelly – they just need homes and loving families to help them,” the Family Policy Alliance said, adding the directive “will lead many foster families to fear repercussions for holding to the basic understanding that male and female are distinct and different.”


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