FAMILY AFFAIR

STUDY: Foster Kids Do Just As Well With Gay Parents As Straight Ones

A study is published in the October issue of the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry indicates that high-risk children adopted from foster care do equally well when placed with gay or heterosexual parents.

Psychologists from UCLA studied 82 at-risk children, from ages 4 months to 8-years-old, in Los Angeles County. Sixty of those kids were placed with heterosexual parents and 22 with gay or lesbian guardians—15 with gay male parents and seven with lesbian parents (68% of all parents were married or living with a partner).

The psychologists found very few differences among the children at any of the assessments over the two-year period following placement. On average, children in heterosexual, gay and lesbian households achieved significant gains in their cognitive development, and their levels of behavior problems remained stable. Their IQ scores increased by an average of 10 points, from about 85 to 95 — a large increase, from low-average to average functioning.

While all the children had multiple risk factors—including premature birth, prenatal substance exposure, abuse or neglect, and multiple prior placements—but the children adopted by gay and lesbian families averaged at least one additional factor.

“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 UCLA’s Letitia Anne Peplau, who co-authored of the study.