Favorite

Election day robbery 

For many boys and girls, Election Day did not bring new hope; it robbed them of it.  

That was certainly the case in Arkansas, where voters decided to slash the number of families available to provide safe, caring homes for abused and neglected children languishing in the state's foster care system. They did that by approving a referendum — aimed squarely at gays and lesbians — prohibiting unmarried, cohabiting couples from becoming foster or adoptive parents.

Viewed through the prism of what best serves the interests of children who need homes, the debate about gay and lesbian parenting (within or outside of marriage) is not a close call. The research is clear: Children grow up far better in families than in temporary care or institutions, and their outcomes are comparable whether their parents are straight or gay.

A new report by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, “Expanding Resources for Waiting Children,” which I head, points out some critical facts:

•  About 129,000 children in foster care are legally free for adoption, and not enough adults are filling the need in any state; the 25,000 who “age out” of the system each year face a very high risk of negative outcomes such as homelessness, poverty, incarceration and early parenthood.

• Gays and lesbians, studies show, are more willing to adopt children with special needs — which most boys and girls in foster care have — than are heterosexuals.

• Adoption from foster care yields between $3.3 billion and $6.3 billion in savings nationally each year, while a nationwide ban on foster parenting by gays and lesbians would add $87 million to $130 million in total costs for states to find other caretakers.

The report suggests that joint adoption (when both parents adopt at the same time) and second-parent adoption (when a partner or spouse later adopts the child) should expand from the handful of states where they are currently permitted for gays and lesbians to become the norm from coast to coast. The arguments for doing so are based principally on the benefits to children, ranging from health insurance to legal protections to the emotional security of feeling part of a “normal” family.

Because these arguments apply to marriage as well, many child advocates are concerned about the results of Nov. 4 voting in California, Florida and Arizona to allow only heterosexuals to marry. But the most direct, problematic result for children that day clearly took place in Arkansas.

While the referendum was aimed at gays and lesbians, it also removes qualified cohabitating heterosexuals from the pool of prospective adoptive parents. It is an audacious action that undermines the prospects for needy children to get homes, made all the more unnerving by reports that its advocates plan to build on their “success” by working to repeat it in other states.

Whatever anyone may believe personally about parenting by lesbians, gay men and unmarried heterosexual couples, can it really be acceptable for some children, by law, to be granted less of a shot in life than others? Most troubling, can it really be true that there are people who think a child is better off with no parents than ones who are living together outside of traditional marriage?

On the eve of a new presidency, if we as a nation are to bring real hope to vulnerable boys and girls who have so little of it, we need to finally address those troubling questions.

 

Adam Pertman is executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute in New York.

 

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • Schlafly's influence

    Phyllis Schlafly, mother, attorney and longtime antifeminist, died recently. What Schlafly promoted was not novel or new. Men had been saying that men and women were not equal for years. However, anti-feminism, anti-women language had much more power coming from a woman who professed to be looking out for the good of all women and families.
    • Sep 15, 2016
  • Seven

    The controversy over the Ten Commandments monument on the Capitol lawn just won't go away.
    • Feb 9, 2017
  • Why a change of leadership at the LRSD now?

    Johnny Key's abrupt, unilateral decision to not renew Baker Kurrus' contract as superintendent strikes us as shortsighted, misguided and detrimental to the education of our children and the health of our community.
    • Apr 21, 2016

Most Shared

  • ASU to reap $3.69 million from estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn

    Arkansas State University announced today plans for spending an expected $3.69 million gift in the final distribution of the estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn, who died in 2013 and 2015 respectively.
  • Bad health care bill, again

    Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators.
  • Sex on campus

    Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated.
  • The inadequate legacy of Brown

    LRSD continues to abdicate its responsibility to educate poor black students.

Latest in Guest Writer

  • Can't afford to gut ACA

    The Affordable Care Act was passed into law with the promise that it would make insurance affordable. Because of bipartisan leadership in Arkansas, we continue to strive to achieve that goal. While rhetoric abounds, it is important to understand the Arkansas experience.
    • Sep 21, 2017
  • Tipping point

    I was extremely cautious before engaging in the educational debate about the State Board of Education's decision to take over the Little Rock School District.
    • Sep 14, 2017
  • Left behind

    Arkansas is getting a lot of attention for our very low unemployment rate. If you look only at that number (3.4 percent), you would think workers here were doing quite well — better than surrounding states and even the nation as a whole. But that seemingly simple rate can hide some huge gaps in prosperity.
    • Sep 7, 2017
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

September

S M T W T F S
  1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Sex on campus

    • Once again commentators blame the victim. Social scientists, of whom I am one, regularly find…

    • on September 22, 2017
  • Re: Time for a coalition

    • Shiny, nobody is saying that Hillary isn't entitled to speak. Shit, the more she talks,…

    • on September 21, 2017
  • Re: Bad health care bill, again

    • Its hard to tell what the GOP in Arkansas care about beyond making life worse…

    • on September 20, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation