US gay adoption boost

According to census data about 19 per cent of same-sex couples reported having an adopted child in 2009, up from just 8 per cent in 2000

'The trend line is absolutely straight up,' Adam Pertman, executive director of the Evan B Donaldson Adoption Institute, a nonprofit organisation working to change adoption policy and practice, told the New York Times.
'It’s now a reality on the ground.'

This increase comes depite stark legal inconsistencies across the US. Gay adoption is prohibited in only two states - Utah and Mississippi - but couples face legal complications in around half of the other states where formal gay unions are not legal. However, it is legal for gay, single people to adopt in most states.

It does not end there, though, as in Arizona, for example, social workers are required by law to give preference to married, heterosexual couples.

'It’s two steps forward, one step back,' said Ellen Kahn, head of the Family Project at the Human Rights Campaign. Ms Kahn, trains adoption agencies to work with gay couples and has seen the number of agencies double over the past five years to around 50.

Support comes from government too. There are currently 115,000 children waiting for adoption in the U.S. and the Obama administration has been vocal in its belief that gays and lesbians can play a bigger role in adoptions.

'The child welfare system has come to understand that placing a child in a gay or lesbian family is no greater risk than placing them in a heterosexual family,' Bryan Samuels, commissioner for the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, said recently.

Date: 15 June 2011


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