The Nevada Division of Child and Family Services has now revised its regulations for prospective parents with HIV.
In response to an appeal from Lambda Legal, the Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) of the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services has revised its regulations concerning licensing prospective foster parents to remove a requirement that foster parents be free of a list of communicable diseases that included HIV.
“This change in the Nevada Administrative Code expands the pool of loving homes willing and able to take in foster children,” said Scott Schoettes, Senior Attorney and HIV Project National Director for Lambda Legal. “Nevada DCFS recognized that its exclusion of people living with HIV from being foster parents was unsupported by medical science and discriminatory, and we are gratified that the department moved so quickly to update its regulations.”
At the end of last year, Lambda Legal submitted a petition to DCFS on behalf of a gay married couple who were told the HIV status of one partner precluded their serving as foster parents. The petition, joined by Aid for AIDS Nevada (AFAN) and Children’s Advocacy Alliance (CAA), called for DCFS to remove immediately HIV and AIDS from the list of communicable diseases that prevent an individual or couple from receiving a foster care license and to consider removal of other diseases that also are not transmitted via household contact. Through the cooperative process that ensued, DCFS decided to remove any reference to communicable diseases from the regulations pertaining to foster care and instead to require that
“[e]ach foster parent must be in sufficiently good physical and mental health, and be physically and emotionally capable, to provide the necessary care to children.”
“This is a welcome revision that brings Nevada into agreement with the vast majority of states whose licensing requirements make no mention of a prospective foster parent’s HIV status,” said CAA Executive Director Denise Tanata Ashby. “More importantly, it opens up wonderful and loving homes to the long list of Nevada children in need of safe and nurturing foster placements.”