(CNSNews.com) – David Hansell, acting assistant secretary for a children and families agency within the Health and Human Services Department, on Monday touted the Obama administration’s “acceptance and embrace of the LGBT community,” including its efforts to encourage same-sex couples to adopt children. LGBT refers to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons.
The “Adopt Us Kids” Web site, described as “a cooperative agreement with the Children's Bureau, Administration for Children & Families, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,” includes resources for same-sex couples who want to adopt. It also posts studies that claim to support the benefits of having children raised by same-sex couples.
“Over the past couple of years, we made a concerted broad-based effort to attract more LBGT families to the site and to make it easier for them to adopt,” Hansell said. “We’ve revised our materials, we work with our partners at the Human Rights Campaign to train ‘Adopt Us Kid’ staff and we’ve hired consultants with LBGT expertise.”
Hansell spoke at the liberal Center for American Progress in Washington at an event focusing on homosexual youth and their relationship with their parents and other family members.
Hansell said his agency is making the homosexual community a priority.
“You have our commitment that the LGBT community, indeed the LGBT communities, are at the top and the forefront of our mind as we develop policies and programs to expand access to high-quality health care and social services,” Hansell said.
Hansell said President Barack Obama has “tangibly demonstrated” his commitment to the LGBT community, including appointing some 160 homosexual men and women to various posts in his administration. "And I’m delighted to stand before you as one of them,” Hansell said.
In his remarks, Hansell addressed what he called the “critical issue of adoption.”
“Despite the fact that we are in the second decade of the 21st century, prospective parents who don’t fit the model of the typical heterosexual household can still face numerous barriers when they try to adopt a child from the public foster care system,” Hansell said.
“Not only is that inherently discriminatory but it simply makes no sense to deny qualified families the opportunity to create permanent homes for children who have endured terrible difficulty and desperately need love and security,” Hansell said.
Hansell, noting that only a small number of states have laws that ban same-sex adoption, said his agency is committed to “bring waiting children and willing families together.”
Other speakers at the event included Bryan Samuels, the commissioner of HHS’s Administration on Children, Youth and Families, and Caitlan Ryan, a longtime gay activist and academic who co-founded the Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State University.