Jane-Ashley McMillan, Attorney at Law

Discriminating against prospective LGBT parents may hurt children

LGBT couples sometimes face hurdles when trying to adopt or foster children, thanks to state laws that allow agencies to decline same-sex couples the ability to adopt. A new study shows these restrictions may do harm to children in addition to being discriminatory.  

Analysis from the Center for American Progress, Voice for Adoption and the North American Council on Adoptable Children found that state laws allowing adoptive and foster care agencies to refuse placing children based on religious beliefs were harmful for children and more expensive for taxpayers, as those children spent more time in state custody. 

Lack of language

In their research, the agencies reviewed child placement agencies in Texas and Michigan to determine if they have inclusive policies or not. They checked websites for LGBT-friendly language or faith-based missions.

While some websites did not include language specifically professing a faith-based mission, the lack of LGBT-inclusive statements may give some couples pause before going through the work to seek placement.

The cost of limitations

The report determined that adoption through foster care saves taxpayers nearly $29,000 per child each year compared to those who remain in state custody, and claims that moving 1,000 10-year-olds to adoption from the foster care system would save taxpayers around $230 million over the time it would take those children to age out of the system. This cost is on top of the emotional impact children experience when left in the foster system.

Texas is among 10 states that accept agencies to refuse child placement to prospective parents they find “objectionable” for any number of reasons, including sexual orientation.

This places a hurdle in front of LGBT couples in the state looking to adopt or foster, as only 10 percent of agencies have explicit language on their websites proclaiming a willingness to work with prospective parents in same-sex relationships.

It is still possible for LGBT people to foster and adopt in Texas, but it is much harder than it is for opposite-sex families. Couples may have to turn to other solutions for building their family.


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