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JIC Post:From GayWired(Los Angeles, CA) - Gay and Lesbian Adolescent Social Services (GLASS) has announced support of a settlement between Olive Crest Family Care and Adoption Agency and the American Civil Liberties Union. Olive Crest agreed to change its policies, and stop discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) applicants after the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit on behalf of a San Diego couple.“This settlement recognizes what many of us have known for a long time,” said Teresa DeCrescenzo, Executive Director of GLASS. “LGBT people make excellent foster and adoptive parents on a par with straight people. Agencies cannot illegally discriminate against LGBT people and expect to go unchallenged. I hope that the settlement in this case will encourage more LGBT people to apply to become foster or adoptive parents. It sends a strong message to the LGBT community that you are welcome and encouraged to foster a child or to create a family through adoption."“Moreover,” added DeCrescenzo, “the settlement will make certain that foster and adoption agencies take all the necessary steps to make decisions that are always in the best interest of the child. Sexual orientation or gender identity of the potential foster or adoptive parent does not negatively impact children’s well being in any way. Study after study has shown this to be true.”DeCrescenzo also said, “This settlement has been a long time in coming. It took a very brave employee from Olive Crest who came forward and spoke out. She could no longer tolerate the way LGBT people interested in becoming foster or adoptive parents were being treated at Olive Crest." In a meeting with GLASS officials, the Olive Crest employee disclosed the discriminatory policies. Eventually, the ACLU became involved.“Though it took five years, Olive Crest must finally recognize that the best of interest of a child is served by that child being placed with a loving, responsible, and caring parent,” said DeCrescenzo. “One’s sexual orientation or gender identity has nothing to do with providing a loving home and a caring family. Thanks to the ACLU and one courageous social worker, the LGBT community has won this battle.”Gay and Lesbian Adolescent Social Services (GLASS) is a not for profit organization dedicate to improving the lives of LGBT children in the foster care and juvenile justice systems. GLASS operates seven group homes in California, in Los Angeles and Alameda Counties. GLASS services include an intensive day program, street outreach, vocational training, and transitional living programs to ensure success for those youth emancipating to adulthood.
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