Agencies that use private contractors to deliver services should ensure that all contractors abide by non-discrimination policies for LGBTQ prospective parents and have procedures that reflect that commitment, from recruitment through long-term support after placement or adoption finalization.
For example, many large public agencies use private contractors to deliver some or most of their adoption and foster care services. Contracts between the public agencies and these private vendors set service delivery requirements. Changes in public agency policy or procedure need to be reflected in the work of these private contractors to be meaningful for resource families and waiting children.
The ease of altering or amending contracts varies by jurisdiction. Some jurisdictions may have short-term contracts, while others may review and renew contracts only every 10 years. Some contracts include clauses that require contractors to abide by any new policies and procedures enacted by the public agency, while other contracts are more limited in scope.
Procedures should be in place to avoid partnerships (both formal and informal) with organizations and service providers who actively discriminate against or cause harm to the LGBTQ community. Agencies should also have a formalized method through which they require organizational partners to meet their LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination standards.
All Children – All Families has identified the following best practices in working to ensure non-discrimination policies extend to organizational partnerships:
- Conducting educational or advocacy activities for LGBTQ-inclusive and affirming practice among organizational partners and collaborators
- Including in contracts with service providers specific requirements that the contractor implement LGBTQ-inclusive and affirming practice
- Including in contracts explicit mention of non-discrimination statement, and/or
- Requiring service providers to sign a separate non-discrimination statement with every contract.
If agencies handle homestudies, post-placement services/counseling and/or other adoption-related services, they must provide LGBTQ families with any referrals to known LGBTQ-welcoming facilities and professionals.
Sample Policy Language:
- Adoption Options, Aurora, CO, "Interagency Agreement"
- Adoption Options believes every child deserves a safe and loving home and embraces diversity and inclusion. This policy's definition of diversity includes sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, stating that no one will be turned away on the basis of these reasons. This agreement applies to all Adoption Option employees, volunteers, members, clients, and contractors.
- Adoption Resource Associates, Cambridge, MA, "Non-Discrimination Agreement"
- Adoption Resource Associates does not discriminate on the basis of gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation. This agreement ensures that contractors adhere to their nondiscriminatory policies and procedures.
- New Jersey Department of Children & Families, Division of Child Protection and Permanency, Trenton, NJ, "Nondiscrimination/Americans with Disabilities Act"
- The State of New Jersey Department of Children & Families is committed to contracting with vendors who are dedicated to providing services to clients and work environments that are free from discrimination. This policy notifies Provider Agencies of prohibitions against discrimination, based on gender/sex, affectional or sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, domestic partnership status, and civil union, among other things.
- Northwest Resource Associates, Seattle, WA, "Agreement for Purchase of Personal Services"
- Northwest Resource Associates ensures that all organizations it contracts with agree to comply with all applicable Federal, state and local nondiscrimination laws as well as their own nondiscrimination policy. This agreement includes protections for persons regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
- Vista Del Mar Child & Family Services, Los Angeles, CA, "Addendum I Contract Worker Agreement and Adoption and Foster Care Rate of Compensation"
- Vista Del Mar Child & Family Services ensures that contractors will provide services in accordance with all of its established policies and procedures, including the application and practice of Vista Del Mar's Client non Discrimination Policy. This contract worker agreement explicitly states that the Adoption and Foster Care Program at Vista Del Mar does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, gender expression, or gender identity.