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Michigan Expanding Support To LGBTQ Families Wanting To Adopt Or Foster

(CBS Detroit) -- The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) said it is expanding support to LGBTQ+ families who are looking to adopt or foster children in need.

This comes after MDHHS signed a settlement Tuesday ending a lawsuit filed by a private child welfare agency challenging its non-discrimination policy. The department said a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court against Philadelphia is binding on the state and limits its ability to enforce a non-discrimination policy under certain circumstances.

"While this outcome is not what we hoped for, we are committed to providing support to the many members in the LGBTQ+ community who want to open their hearts and their homes," said Demetrius Starling, executive director of the MDHHS Children's Services Agency. "Many children who have experienced the trauma associated with abuse and neglect need temporary foster homes while we work to reunify them safely with their parents. A smaller number of youth need adoptive homes. We are so appreciative of all families that step up to help these children – no matter their orientation or gender identity and expression.

MDHHS said it will announce plans to further build on it engagement with LGBTQ+ families. That would include assessment of any service gaps or program enhancements to meet the needs of families.

Officials said about 10,500 children are in foster care in Michigan, and approximately 2,100 have a goal of adoption with about 220 children still waiting for an adoptive family to be identified

"I applaud MDHHS's commitment to supporting LGBTQ+ families and our state's most vulnerable children," said Attorney General Dana Nessel. "All children deserve the best opportunity possible to be placed with a loving and nurturing forever family, and it remains my honor to represent an agency with those enduring values."

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