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Reviewing lesbian and gay adoption and foster care: the developmental outcomes for children

Date:5 JUN 2007

Fiona Tasker PhD, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Birkbeck College, University of London and His Honour Judge Clifford Bellamy. The decision to widen the categories of individuals eligible to apply to adopt children under the Adoption and Children Act 2002 (the Act) was made with the laudable intention of enabling more children to find permanent families. Around 40% of the 4,000 children in Britain waiting for a permanent home will never find one. However, the inclusion of same sex couples within the definition of 'couples' eligible to apply to adopt under the Act has been the subject of some controversy and criticism. This article carries out a comprehensive round up of recent research into the impact on children of growing up in gay or lesbian led families. Research on developmental outcomes for birth children of lesbian and gay parents has concluded no negative effects on children's development, but it has yet to be seen whether these findings would be mirrored in a study into the effects on children who have been adopted into gay or lesbian led families. Although the indications look positive for same sex adoption it is submitted that the case for more research into this area is compelling: until such time as there is a body of research supporting adoption by same sex couples agencies will have no base on which to develop policy and practice in assessing these couples as prospective adopters and as such potential doors to permanent and positive families for children in care may remain closed. For the full article see June [2007] Fam Law.