GLAA seeks inclusion of domestic partners in foster parents rulemaking
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GLAA seeks inclusion of domestic partners in foster parents rulemaking

Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington
P.O. Box 75265
Washington, DC 20013
(202) 667-5139

April 5, 2004

Sarah R. Kaplan
Assistant General Counsel
Child and Family Services Agency
400 6th Street, SW
Washington, D.C. 20024

Dear Ms. Kaplan:

We would like to recommend a change to the emergency and proposed rulemaking “Temporary License for Kin” as published in the March 26, 2004 issue of the DC Register.

The description of the rule change to allow kin to become temporary foster parents -- without the usual extensive licensing -- for abused or neglected children states in part, “For many children, kin (whether relatives or unrelated persons with longstanding ties to the child or family) who can bring the child into their home are the placement best suited to meet the child’s urgent needs.”

We agree with both the intent of the rulemaking and this statement, however the broad language describing kin is not fully reflected in the language of § 6027.2(b):

(1) Is a relative of the foster child by blood, marriage, or adoption; or

(2) Is identified by a relative to the foster child by blood, marriage, or adoption, in a sworn affidavit, to have close personal or emotional ties with the foster child or the foster child’s family, which pre-dated the foster child’s placement with the individual.”

Missing from the list of relationships is domestic partnership. A significant purpose of the domestic partnership laws is to establish that domestic partners are not strangers under the law, but are family members. The D.C. Code is explicit that domestic partners are in a familial relationship:

§ 32-701 (1) "Committed relationship" means a familial relationship between 2 individuals characterized by mutual caring and the sharing of a mutual residence.

§ 32-701 (3) "Domestic partner" means a person with whom an individual maintains a committed relationship as defined in paragraph (1) of this section…

To be consistent with D.C. Law, § 6027.2(b) of the rulemaking should be amended to substitute “blood, marriage, or adoption” with “blood, marriage, domestic partnership or adoption” in both paragraphs (1) and (2).

If a specific reference is needed to the D.C. Code’s definition of domestic partnerships, it is the Health Care Benefits Expansion Act of 1992, effective June 11, 1992 (D.C. Law 9-114; D.C. Official Code § 32-701).

We hope that you will include this amendment in the final rulemaking. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Thank you.

Bob Summersgill

cc: Mayor Anthony Williams
All DC Councilmembers
Robert Spagnoletti, Corporation Counsel
Wanda Alston, Special Assistant to the Mayor for GLBT Affairs

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