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Lesbian and gay foster care and adoption: a brief UK history

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Abstract:

Stephen Hicks presents a history of foster care and adoption by lesbians and gay men in the UK since 1988. He reviews key research, policy, law and debates about lesbian and gay carers and discusses key changes and developments in this field of practice. The article discusses a number of common arguments that surface in debates about this topic, including the idea that the children of lesbians and gay men will suffer psychosocial damage or develop problematic gender and sexual identity. In addition, the author critiques the notion that children do best in 'natural' two-parent, heterosexual families and that lesbian or gay carers should not be considered or should be used only as a 'last resort'. Although the number of approved lesbian and gay carers has been increasing and there has been a range of positive changes in this field, it is argued that a series of homophobic ideas remain a key feature of this debate. The article asks how much things have changed since 1988 and what social work can do to contribute to an anti-homophobic practice.

Keywords: ADOPTION; FOSTER CARE; GAY MEN; LESBIANS; SEXUALITY; SOCIAL WORK

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2005

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