Concern over bill that could make it harder to adopt a child

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AUSTIN (KXAN) – Texas lawmakers will consider two bills Wednesday that some advocates worry could lead to discrimination. One bill, authored by Rep. Scott Sanford, R-McKinney, could make it harder for some people to adopt or foster a child. The bill would affect child welfare services that are contracted with the state, like Austin Children’s Services, who have major concerns with this legislation.

Other critics say it is another anti-LGBT bill and that it is too broad.

Will Francis with the National Association of Social Workers says one intention of the bill is to allow adoption agencies to pick and choose what types of parents they work with. It would allow them to choose to not work with same-sex parents based on sincerely held religious beliefs. Francis also worries the bill could let agencies discriminate against certain children, rejecting them on religious grounds.

“There’s no voice of the child in this bill; it’s purely about the providers,” said Francis. “It really focuses on what they will or won’t do with kids, who they will and won’t accept, and our concern is: There is no room for the child to talk about their feelings, their beliefs, what they choose.”

Francis says they always need more people to adopt and worries a bill like this would just turn people away.

The bill is similar to proposed federal legislation that supporters say will help keep faith-based adoption and foster groups operating. A congressman from Pennsylvania says that some states ended contracts with religious organizations because of their beliefs.

The other bill, sponsored by Rep. Gilbert Peña, R-Pasadena, would prohibit schools from allowing students to use restrooms other than the one specified by their birth gender.

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