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Cultivating LGBT Adoptions & Foster Parenting

On June 29th, NPR featured a story on the importance of educating families about LGBT child fostering and adoption. Perhaps surprisingly, out of the more than 400,000 U.S. children in foster care, there are a disproportionate number of LGBT kids, in part because it can be difficult to find placement (and thus facilitate eventual adoption) for them. As a result, Los Angeles County is now developing a program that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the country, but which will (hopefully) provide a framework for the development of similar programs—a program to essentially teach foster families about LGBT children and encourage their placement.

Especially for families that come from particular religious backgrounds, it can be difficult trying to figure out how you can support your foster or adopted child. And what’s more, a lack of knowledge about LGBT issues in general can sometimes scare foster parents from accepting these children into their homes, creating additional barriers, in general, for LGBT adoptions and related family issues.

Increasing Empathy

So what are these program sessions focused on? One, for example, focuses on how parents can increase empathy and an understanding of the feeling children who are abandoned by their loved ones feel after coming out. In fact, it’s such an issue that, in some states, it is now legally mandatory for foster parents and other caretakers to be trained on cultural competency and sensitivity in relating to and providing adequate care for LGBT youth. However, that’s still only one 60-minute session that’s required, once per year, without any real established curriculum. Without accountability, it likely isn’t providing enough in terms of real benefits for families. With additional funding, those developing the new programs described in the article hope that they will be able to facilitate getting more and more children out of group homes and into foster and adoptive homes.

Fortunately, what LA County develops will be used to create standards for the rest of the country on how to help LGBT and all children that are part of the foster care and adopted child systems.

Current LGBT Foster & Adoption Laws

Most states like Florida do not have specific laws that speak to eligibility to adopt or serve as a foster parent based on whether a child is LGBT or not. Instead, judges and the child welfare professionals they rely on for guidance tend to make the placement decisions based on what they deem as being in the best interest of the child.

Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A.

Since founding her law practice over 15 years ago, Florida attorney Sandra Bonfiglio has dedicated a large part of her family law practice to serving LGBT families—including representation in the adoption process—in Fort Lauderdale and surrounding areas. Whether you are seeking assistance with issues related to divorce, child custody, adoption, or other family-related issues, we are committed to helping you through the process. Contact us at our Fort Lauderdale office to learn more.

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