Today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the city of Philadelphia could not end a contract with Catholic Social Services after the agency refused to work with same-sex couples that wanted to become foster parents. Rebecca Louve Yao, executive director of the National Foster Youth Institute, issued the following statement in response:

“We are deeply disappointed in today’s Supreme Court decision. While it focused on case-specific details unique to this situation, the overarching message from the court has broad and widespread implications. Allowing organizations, particularly those affiliated with local government, to discriminate against potential foster parents, further limits an already small pool of people who are willing and eager to welcome a child into their homes.

“The message this sends is especially troubling given how many foster youth identify as LGBTQIA. According to the Los Angeles LGBT Center, ‘at least 20-30% of foster youth identify as LGBTQ+ and over 90% of those young people are also youth of color.’ What are we saying to those children about the value of their lives and their humanity when it is implied that same-sex couples are not fit parents? And how many children have been deprived of a safe and supportive home because of policies like the one at CSS?

“Today, our message to potential foster parents is this: if you are a caring, patient, and nurturing person, there is a child out there who needs you. We encourage you to look for a placement agency that’s eager to work with your family, is culturally competent, provides thorough training, and focuses on placing children in the best possible environments for their unique needs and circumstances.”