According to the Chicago Tribune, state officials are investigating religiously-affiliated foster care agencies are in violation of Illinois' Human Rights Act and other anti-discrimination laws if they refuse to grant foster care licenses to LGBT parents:

Benjamin Wolf of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, an attorney who represents juvenile state wards as part of a court-monitored consent decree with DCFS, said limiting the pool of prospective foster care parents because certain religious traditions believe same-sex relationships are sinful is irresponsible when children are in need.

"We don't know for sure if a loving lesbian or gay family turned away from a discriminatory agency is necessarily going to go to another agency because of the disruption and harm caused to them," he said.

The religious institutions' policies might send a hurtful message to the large number of children in the foster care system who landed there after suffering neglect, abuse or rejection because they were gay, some experts say. Marlowe said 240 children out of more than 15,000 in the foster care system currently identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or questioning.

Foster children should be placed with a relative whenever possible, experts say. If that relative is gay, a religious agency may insist on referring them to a new agency, severing the child's relationship with a caseworker.

"To communicate to that kid that ... you have to change caseworkers in order to get the services you need is a very bad message," Wolf said. "The other thing we're saying to the subpopulation of kids that are gay and lesbian is, 'Once you grow up you can never be a foster parent in our agency' — another troubling message."

A study by the University of Illinois' Children and Family Research Center found some children bounce between foster homes because they face difficulties when they reveal their sexual orientation.

"I don't think you can (overemphasize) the damage done by a disruption," said John Knight, another ACLU attorney.

We hope this issue can be resolved so that vulnerable foster kids can get the care and attention they need in loving homes - regardless of the sexual orientation of the foster parents.

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. Meet parents, Corynne and Michelle, who were forced to hide their relationship in order to adopt.