Florida's Children First

Florida does right by LGBT foster kids.

We’ve got a lot of names to take in today’s Friday Files — including a well-known quarterback, a lesser-known Pokemon and a whole slew of politicians.

But first, some props to Gov. Rick Scott‘s Department of Children and Families.

Earlier this year, DCF was poised to do take some ugly — and dangerous — actions affecting gay and transgender kids in foster care, basically giving a greenlight to group homes that wanted to bully the kids or even try to change their sexual orientation.

The public’s general reaction was: What is wrong with you people?

Seriously, you don’t have to have marched in a pride parade to know that it’s twisted to allow bullying or brainwashing.

Originally, the state acted fine. DCF’s original proposed guidelines banned group homes from allowing the “harassment or bullying of children” based on “gender expression” or “sexual orientation” and from trying to change any youth’s sexual orientation.

But then, after a handful of religious leaders objected, state officials removed all of those protections.

It was an odd and ugly thing to do. And not surprisingly, a lot of people objected — Republican, Democrats, child advocates and more. I was certainly among them and encouraged readers to contact state officials.

Well, as of last week, DCF made a 180, putting all those protections back in. What’s more, DCF Secretary Mike Carroll went a step further, calling for a full-time ombudsman to probe complaints of discrimination from any child in the foster system.

It’s one thing for adults to wage ideological wars against each other. But everyone can agree that protecting some of the state’s most vulnerable and already-neglected kids from further trauma is a bipartisan no-brainer.

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Florida's Children First

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