New rules regarding who can be a foster parent have been written by the state, in response to a court ruling overturning the state’s unwritten ban on homosexuals becoming foster parents. Jackson County Circuit Judge Sandra Midriff ruled that the state cannot deny Lisa Johnston a foster care license, simply because she’s a lesbian. It had been a longstanding, yet unwritten, policy that the state not license unmarried couples or homosexuals as foster parents. The Children’s Division states its new rules will comply with the judge’s ruling and ensure that the best interest of the child is the overriding factor in foster child placement. Factors such as culture, religion, education and neighborhood will be taken into account to determine in what home a foster child is placed. The new rules have been filed with the Secretary of State’s office. Children’s Division spokesman, Deborah Scott, denies the new rules are written to technically conform to the court ruling while making it difficult for homosexuals to become foster parents. The Children’s Division pledges it will follow the court’s mandate to license homosexuals if they meet all other criteria. Scott freely acknowledges, though, that the state wanted to appeal the judge’s ruling. The Department of Social Services requested Attorney General Jay Nixon appeal the ruling. The department claimed there were critical arguments about the best interest of abused and neglected children that needed to be heard by the appellate court. The Attorney General declined to push the case further.
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