Donate

Foster Care Laws & Regulations

United States Map
Washington New York U.S. Virgin Islands Puerto Rico Guam Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands American Samoa New Hampshire Vermont Virginia Pennsylvania New York Maine West Virginia Ohio Kentucky Indiana Michigan Illinois Wisconsin North Carolina South Carolina Tennessee Georgia Florida Mississippi Missouri Arkansas Louisiana Iowa Minnesota Oklahoma Kansas Nebraska South Dakota North Dakota Texas 33 Colorado Wyoming Montana Idaho Arizona Utah Nevada Oregon California Hawaii Alaska Massachusetts Rhode Island Connecticut New Jersey Delaware Maryland Washington D.C. New Hampshire Vermont
  • State statute, regulation, and/or agency policy prohibits discrimination in foster care based on sexual orientation and gender identity (24 states, 0 territories + D.C.)
  • State statute, regulation, and/or agency policy prohibits discrimination in foster care based on sexual orientation only (5 states, 1 territory)
  • No explicit protections against discrimination in foster care based on sexual orientation or gender identity (21 states, 4 territories)
  • State permits state-licensed child welfare agencies to refuse to place and provide services to children and families, including LGBTQ people and same-sex couples, if doing so conflicts with their religious beliefs (11 states, 0 territories)

Percent of Adult LGBTQ Population Covered by Laws

*Note: These percentages reflect estimates of the LGBTQ adult population living in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Estimates of the LGBTQ adult population in the five inhabited U.S. territories are not available, and so cannot be reflected here.

52%

52 % of LGBTQ population lives in states which have statutes, regulations, and/or agency policies prohibiting discrimination in foster care based on sexual orientation and gender identity

8%

8 % of LGBTQ population lives in states which have statutes, regulations, and/or agency policies prohibiting discrimination in foster care based on sexual orientation only

40%

40 % of LGBTQ population lives in states which have no explicit protections against discrimination in foster care based on sexual orientation or gender identity

20%

20 % of LGBTQ population lives in states permitting state-licensed child welfare agencies to refuse to place and provide services to children and families, including LGBTQ people and same-sex couples, if doing so conflicts with their religious beliefs

Data current as of 02/27/2020
This map is powered by

Stay Informed

Be the first to know about new reports and MAP news by signing up for our newsletter


Become a Member

MAP membership and certain MAP materials are restricted to the staff and board members of LGBTQ movement organizations and/or major funders of the movement for LGBTQ equality. Click below to become a member of MAP.

Join MAP

View our privacy policy.

Sexual Orientation Policy Tally

The term “sexual orientation” is loosely defined as a person’s pattern of romantic or sexual attraction to people of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or gender, or more than one sex or gender. Laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation primarily protect or harm lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. That said, transgender people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual can be affected by laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation.

Gender Identity Policy Tally

“Gender identity” is a person’s deeply-felt inner sense of being male, female, or something else or in-between. “Gender expression” refers to a person’s characteristics and behaviors such as appearance, dress, mannerisms and speech patterns that can be described as masculine, feminine, or something else. Gender identity and expression are independent of sexual orientation, and transgender people may identify as heterosexual, lesbian, gay or bisexual. Laws that explicitly mention “gender identity” or “gender identity and expression” primarily protect or harm transgender people. These laws also can apply to people who are not transgender, but whose sense of gender or manner of dress does not adhere to gender stereotypes.

Choose an Issue