Parenting

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    Same-Sex and Different-Sex Parent Households and Child Health Outcomes: Findings from the National Survey of Children’s Health

    By Henny M.W. Bos, Justin R. Knox, Loes van Rijn-van Gelderen, and Nanette Gartrell
    April 2016

    Using the 2011–2012 National Survey of Children’s Health data set, this report compares spouse/partner relationships and parent-child relationships (family relationships), parenting stress, and children’s general health, emotional difficulties, coping behavior, and learning behavior (child outcomes) in households of same-sex (female) versus different-sex continuously coupled parents with biological offspring. Children with female same-sex parents and different-sex parents demonstrated no differences in outcomes, despite female same-sex parents reporting more parenting stress. Future studies may reveal the sources of this parenting stress.

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    Children and Families Impacted and the Fiscal Implications of Texas CSHB 3864

    By Gary J. Gates and Taylor N.T. Brown
    May 2015

    CSHB 3864, if enacted, would allow agencies licensed to make foster care or adoption placement decisions in the state of Texas to do so in accordance with their own sincerely-held religious beliefs. This memo provides estimates for the number of children being raised by LGB individuals and same-sex couples in Texas, along with estimates of the potential fiscal implications if this bill causes children to stay longer in the foster care system rather than being placed for adoption.

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    Children and Families Impacted and the Fiscal Implications of Michigan HB 4188, 4189, 4190

    By Gary J. Gates and Taylor N.T. Brown
    May 2015

    House Bills 4188, 4189, and 4190 are proposed by members of the Michigan Legislature and would allow agencies licensed to make foster care or adoption placement decisions in the state of Michigan to do so in accordance with their own sincerely-held religious beliefs. This memo provides estimates for the number of children being raised by LGB individuals and same-sex couples in Michigan, along with estimates of the potential fiscal implications if these bills cause children to stay longer in the foster care system rather than being placed for adoption.

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    Children and Families Impacted and the Fiscal Implications of Florida HB 7111, “Conscience Protection for Private Child-Placing Agencies”

    Gary Gates, Taylor N.T. Brown
    April 2015

    Agencies could refuse to place a child with a potential parent because of the parent’s sexual orientation or gender identity under proposed bill HB 7111 in Florida. About 2,460 adopted children and 160 foster children are being raised by lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals or same-sex couples in Florida. If those 160 foster children were to be adopted by their foster families next year, the state could save more than $1 million by not keeping them in the foster care system.

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    Dutch Adolescents from Lesbian-Parent Families: How Do They Compare to Peers with Heterosexual Parents and What is the Impact of Homophobic Stigmatization?

    By Loes van Rijn-van Gelderen, Henry M.W. Bos, Nanette K. Gartrell
    February 2015

    Dutch adolescents with lesbian parents do not show any more problem behavior than those with heterosexual parents. Yet even though in 2001 the Netherlands was the first country to legalize same-sex marriage, some adolescents in this study reported being stigmatized for having lesbian mothers. The more homophobic stigmatization they faced, the more problem behavior they showed.

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    Satisfaction with Known, Open-identity, or Unknown Sperm Donors: Reports from Lesbian Mothers of 17-year-old Adolescents

    Nanette Gartrell, Henny Bos, Naomi Goldberg, Amalia Deck, Loes van Rijn-van Gelderen
    October 2014

    Eighteen years after conceiving their sons or daughters through donor insemination, 77.5 percent of 129 lesbian mothers were satisfied with their choice of sperm donor, according to a new study released today by the Williams Institute. Donor access and custody concerns were the primary themes associated with the mothers’ satisfaction.

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    Transgender Parenting: A Review of Existing Research

    By Rebecca L. Stotzer, Jody L. Herman, Amira Hasenbush
    October 2014

    This report reviews the existing research on the prevalence and characteristics of transgender people who are parents, the quality of relationships between transgender parents and their children, outcomes for children with a transgender parent, and the reported needs of transgender parents. Based on their review, the authors recommend further research on the many facets of transgender parents’ lives, including research on the impact of discrimination on transgender parents and their families.

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    Amici Brief: Constitutional Court of the Republic of Colombia

    By Abbie E. Goldberg, Nanette K. Gartrell, Gary J. Gates
    August 2014

    Williams Institute scholars filed an amici brief in two cases regarding adoption rights of same-sex couples that are pending before the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Colombia. Research indicates lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) parents and their children are functioning well, despite confronting discrimination in a variety of social contexts—including healthcare, legal and school systems. The two cases before the Court — Turandot v. Defensor Segundo de Familia de Rionegro and In the Matter of Diego Andrés Prada Vargas —concern the constitutionality of law barring adoption rights of same-sex couples.

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    Research Report on LGB-Parent Families

    By Abbie E. Goldberg, Nanette K. Gartrell, Gary Gates
    July 2014

    LGB parenting has grown more visible over the past few decades. Research on LGB parents and their children has proliferated alongside this increasing visibility. This report addresses the research on LGB parenting, focusing on several main content areas: family building by LGB people, the transition to parenthood for LGB parents, and functioning and experiences of LGB parents and their children. In addition to discussing what we know about LGB-parent families, we identify gaps in our knowledge, and highlight key areas that future studies should aim to address.

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    Predictors of parenting stress in lesbian, gay, and heterosexual adoptive parents during early parenthood

    By Abbie E. Goldberg, JuliAnna Z. Smith
    May 2014

    Sexual orientation is not a predictor of parenting stress among first-time adoptive parents, based on the first longitudinal study of parenting stress in early childhood among lesbian, gay and heterosexual adoptive parents. Parents’ pre-placement well-being, relationship quality, and social support are pre-adoptive assessments that could impact post-adoptive stress. Consistent with prior research, the study also found a child’s age at placement to be a predictor of post-placement parenting stress, such that parents of older children reported more stress.

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    Seeking to Adopt in Florida: Lesbian and Gay Parents Navigate the Legal Process

    By Abbie E. Goldberg, Elizabeth R. Webera, April M. Moyera, Julie Shapirob
    May 2014

    Utilizing interview data from 22 lesbian and gay parents in Florida, the current exploratory study examined participants’ experiences navigating the legal and social service systems after the repeal of the Florida ban on gay adoption. Participants reported both positive and negative experiences in seeking out lawyers, working with social service agencies in an effort to adopt, and interfacing with the judicial system. This study furthers our knowledge of the lingering effects of discriminatory laws even after such laws have been formally removed.

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    Preschool selection considerations and experiences of school mistreatment among lesbian, gay, and heterosexual adoptive parents

    By Abbie E. Goldberg, JuliAnna Z. Smith
    March 2014

    Lesbian, Gay, or Bisexual parents of preschoolers may be particularly sensitive to family, racial and sexual diversity issues as they evaluate and select preschools for their children. Additionally, heterosexual adoptive parent families may be especially sensitive to adoption-related stigma and exclusion. Early childhood educators should recognize the growing diversity of contemporary families and consider adoption, family structure, and race as important components of curriculum development.

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    Lesbian and Heterosexual Two-Parent Families: Adolescent-Parent Relationship Quality and Adolescent Well-being

    By Henny M.W. Bos, Loes van Gelderen, Nanette Gartrell
    February 2014

    Adolescents with continuously-coupled lesbian mothers had higher self-esteem and fewer conduct problems (such as rule-breaking, vandalism, or getting into fights ) than adolescents with continuously-coupled heterosexual parents. Across other indicators of psychological adjustment, substance usage, and relationships with their parents, the study found that adolescents from intact two-mother lesbian families were comparable to those from intact mother-father families.

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    Civic Competence of Dutch Children in Female Same-Sex Parent Families: A Comparison With Children of Opposite-Sex Parents

    By Henny Bos, Nanette Gartrell, Jaap Roeleveld, Guuske Ledoux
    September 2013

    Pre-teen Dutch children raised by female same-sex parents scored higher on core principles of democratic citizenship than their peers in heterosexual-parent families. In a Dutch national survey of civic competence, children between the ages of 11 to 13 years old reared in female-parent households scored significantly higher than children in heterosexual-parent households on attitudes concerning acting democratically, dealing with conflicts, and dealing with differences.

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    Lesbian, Gay, and Heterosexual Adoptive Parents’ Perceptions of Parental Bonding During Early Parenthood

    By Abbie E. Goldberg, April M. Moyer, Lori A. Kinkler
    July 2013

    Early bonding patterns between parents and their adopted children do not differ between same-sex and different-sex couples. Other factors that played a role in the bonding between parents and their adopted child include how sudden or expected the transition to parenthood was; how entitled the adoptive parents felt as parents (i.e., how ready they were to “claim” the child as theirs), and the legal security of the placement (i.e., the perceived likelihood that it would be permanent).

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    Predictors of Psychological Adjustment in Early Placed Adopted Children With Lesbian, Gay, and Heterosexual Parents

    By Abbie E. Goldberg, JuliAnna Z. Smith
    July 2013

    Family type is not a predictor of a child’s psychological adjustment among early placed adopted children with lesbian, gay or heterosexual parents. An estimated 16,000 same-sex couples are raising more than 22,000 adopted children in the U.S., and these findings indicate that these children will likely fare no differently, as a result of their family type, than those being raised by heterosexual parents. This study examines aspects of the pre- and post-adoptive contexts in relation to child adjustment in 120 two-parent adoptive families.

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    Donor, Dad, or…? Young Adults with Lesbian Parents’ Experiences with Known Donors

    By Abbie E. Goldberg, Katherine R. Allen
    May 2013

    Research suggests children of lesbian parents are satisfied with their current level of contact with their male donors. This study sheds light on how children are contributing to the redefinition and reconstruction of complex kinship arrangements. Participants in the study perceived their relationships with their male donors as strictly donors and not members of their family; as extended family members, but not as parents; and as fathers.

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    INFOGRAPHIC: % of Same-sex Couples Raising Children in Top Metro Areas (MSAs)

    May 2013

    Same-sex couples raising children live in areas all across the country. Many of these areas, including Salt Lake City, Memphis and San Antonio, are located in states that currently have a constitutional amendment banning marriage for same-sex couples. Mississippi has the highest percentage of same-sex couples raising children at 26 percent. Top metro areas are comprised of a large population center and adjacent communities that are economically integrated with that center.

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    Adolescents in Lesbian Families: DSM-Oriented Scale Scores and Stigmatization

    By Henry Bos, Nanette Gartrell & Loes van Gelderen
    May 2013

    The present study focused on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)-oriented scale scores from Child Behavior Checklists completed by parents of the 17-year-old offspring in the U.S. National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study.

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    LGBT Parenting in the United States

    By Gates J. Gates
    February 2013

    As many as six million American children and adults have an LGBT parent. Same-sex couple parents and their children are more likely to be racial and ethnic minorities. An estimated 39 percent of individuals in same-sex couples with children under age 18 at home are non-white, as are half of their children. States with the highest proportions of same-sex couples raising biological, adopted or step-children include Mississippi (26%), Wyoming (25%), Alaska (23%), Idaho (22%), and Montana (22%).

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