The backlog of children in the Texas foster care system awaiting placement with a foster family has been front-and-center in recent debates about how to best reform the state's child welfare system. Reports of children sleeping in the offices of Child Protective Services workers has led many to question why there is such a critical shortage of foster families across the state. Despite this critical shortage, many agencies that recruit and license foster parents have little desire to work with gays and lesbians interested in becoming foster parents. Gay and lesbian parents can be especially effective in providing loving and supportive homes for children in foster care. In many cases, potential gay and lesbian foster parents have dealt with stigma and discrimination related to their own identity that is very similar to the stigma and discrimination that comes with being a foster youth. These mutual experiences can create a home environment that is affirming, sensitive, and empathic.
Gay and lesbian parents are an untapped resource for Texas foster youth
In an era where lesbian, gay and transgender persons are working towards gaining more widespread acceptance of their lifestyles it would only make sense for the legal system to follow suit and honor their rights as parents of children. Fair and equal treatment under the law is what all citizens of the United States seek and these folks are no different. With gay marriages now having been legalized for some time we as family law attorneys are starting to see cases involving same-sex and transgender parents entering into the family law courts with greater frequency. Parents of children that are LGBT Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender face some unique challenges within the legal system when it comes to courts honoring their right to custody and visitation of their children as well as in relation to establishing a legal relationship with their children first and foremost. If you were ever in an opposite-sex marriage and filed for divorce based on your discovering that you were in fact LGBT. In the ensuing custody case, your spouse may have argued that because you are LGBT that is a factor that should be used against you when determining conservatorship. This is a dangerous argument to make because your spouse is effectively calling into question your character and parenting abilities because you have discovered that you are LGBT.
The home study includes a home visit. The Texas Department of State Health Services DSHS guidelines do not address whether a child with two parents of the same sex who are not married may similarly receive a birth certificate that reflects both parents. For gestational agreements to be valid, the law requires that the intended parents are married. Since same-sex couples can now marry, they are now also allowed to enter into gestational agreements with a third party.
The topic of Sperm Donor Agreements has recently risen in discussion between same-sex couples wanting start their families using alternative reproductive methods and how the law can impact their ability to parent. Some questions have been:. LGBT relationships are still a relatively new construct in a legal system that has traditionally been focused almost exclusively on two-parent, opposite gendered relationships. Some courts lag behind in addressing custody issues with same-sex partners, mostly due to inexperience and inconsistency in the laws.