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Study: No difference in development of foster kids adopted by gay or straight parents

'No scientific basis to discriminate against gay and lesbian parents'
Monday, October 22, 2012

High-risk children adopted from foster care by gay parents fare equally in their cognitive and emotional development as those adopted by heterosexual parents, according to a new UCLA study published in the October issue of the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry.

The study is the first to compare children who were adopted out of foster care by gay men, lesbians, and heterosexual couples, and to track their progress over time, said lead author Justin Lavner, a doctoral candidate at UCLA.

The researchers followed 82 children in Los Angeles County — 22 of whom were adopted by gay parents at the average age of 4 — and evaluated them after two months, one year, and two years after they were placed with their adoptive families.

According to the study, children in both household types showed significant gains in cognitive development and maintained similar levels of behavior problems over time, even though the children adopted by gay parents often had more risk factors than those adopted by heterosexual parents:

The children had multiple risk factors at the time of adoption, including premature birth, prenatal substance exposure, abuse or neglect, and multiple prior placements. The psychologists acquired information regarding these biological and environmental risk factors from birth records, court reports and Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services records.

The children adopted by gay and lesbian families had more risk factors at the time of their placement; out of nine risk factors, they averaged one additional risk factor, compared with the children adopted by heterosexual parents.

“The children adopted by gay and lesbian parents had more challenges before they were adopted and yet they end up in the same place, which is impressive,” said Letitia Anne Peplau, a distinguished research professor of psychology at UCLA and co-author of the study.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports there are currently 104,000 foster children in the U.S. available for adoption.

In summary, the study indicates that gay and lesbian parents can provide nurturing homes for these children in a manner similar to that of heterosexual parents.

“There is no scientific basis to discriminate against gay and lesbian parents,” said Peplau.

A 2007 study by the Urban Institute and the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law estimated there were a potential 2 million gay couples interested in adoption, but that they are less likely to pursue it due to discrimination against gay parents.

Only 19 states and the District of Columbia currently allow gay couples to adopt.

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6 more reader comments:

  1. No shit, really? People are people. Jeez. We need to abolish silly misconceptions and hatred for ridiculous reasons.

    Posted on Monday, October 22, 2012 at 4:52pm
  2. Just like what we have been saying all along! Love is love. end of story

    Posted on Monday, October 22, 2012 at 5:02pm
  3. hmm, who’d a thunk it….I mean really, if the child is loved, they will flourish I don’t care whether they’re straight, gay, or trans.

    Posted on Monday, October 22, 2012 at 5:05pm
  4. To Christians, science means nothing when placed against God’s word. Prepare for “compelling” religious right arguments…..

    Posted on Monday, October 22, 2012 at 5:31pm
  5. My Aunt’s adopted a little girl from China in the 90′s, She will be 17 this year and has already taken her pre sat’s and tested in the top 10 out of her entire school. Shes also a typical american cheerleader, who loves the boys. When she became a part of our family she was 8 months old and could not hold up her head, and also had a number across her shaved little head. She went from being born into the worst kind of poverty and left in an orphanage, to being adopted and brought home into a gay family that has turned her into the bad, spoiled, little American girl she is today. The only difference between her and the rest of her “normal” family, she is smarter, has better grades, better manners, and is going to Become someone very special, and its all thank’s to my lesbian aunt’s. These people want to see proof Gays can make good parents, I’d love to have my China doll sit them down and talk circles around them. Because they are not good parents… They are The Best Parents any child could have ever asked for.

    Posted on Monday, October 22, 2012 at 5:33pm
  6. Studies like these helped kick start the process of being out and proud. Sometimes the only thing standing between people and final acceptance is getting rid of some bad psuedo science by putting out some real stats.

    Posted on Monday, October 22, 2012 at 6:02pm