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Nevada revises foster care regulations to remove exclusion of people with HIV

Friday, August 1, 2014
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LAS VEGAS — The Nevada Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) on Thursday 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.

NevadaThe revised regulations allow for DCFS to require a physical or psychological examination, but only if there is reason to believe a foster parent may not be physically or emotionally capable of meeting the needs of a foster child, or there is a legitimate reason to believe the health of the foster child may be in jeopardy.

Last year, Lambda Legal submitted a petition to DCFS on behalf of a married same-sex couple who were told the HIV status of one spouse 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.

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In response, DCFS decided to remove any reference to communicable diseases from the regulations pertaining to foster care and instead to require that “| 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 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,” said Schoettes.

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