California governor Gray Davis signed a bill Monday that will protect foster children in California from discrimination based on a range of factors, including sexual orientation, gender identity, and HIV/AIDS status. The bill, authored by Assemblywoman Judy Chu, is sponsored by the California chapter of the National Association of Social Workers and is strongly supported by Equality California. Equality California sponsored similar legislation last year.
The bill will prohibit discrimination and harassment against foster children and caretakers. It provides that foster parents and staff will receive information on the nondiscrimination requirement in the course of existing training hours.
"This bill will ensure that at-risk youth, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered youth, are better protected while in California's foster care system," stated Geoffrey Kors, Equality California executive director. "This is not a complicated or controversial issue: We have an obligation to protect our most vulnerable foster children from harassment and discrimination. Equality California commends assembly member Chu for her dedication and perseverance in passing this important civil rights measure."