Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

McCaslin, Dr. Rosemary


Foster and adoptive parents are crucial in the child welfare system, with the large number of foster children in the system at any time. Same-sex foster and adoptive homes are underrepresented in the child welfare system, despite the shortage and need for more certified foster and adoptive homes. There are limited studies documenting the experiences of gay and lesbian foster and adoptive parents. Some research has demonstrated that "non-traditional," or same-sex couples are met with more obstacles to become certified foster and adoptive parents, in comparison to their heterosexual counterparts. This qualitative study explores the experiences of same-sex foster and adoptive parents during the certification process. The findings suggest that social workers need to gain more knowledge regarding the values and practices of same-sex families, provide resources specific to same-sex family challenges, be sensitive to the unique circumstances of same-sex families, and most importantly, treat same-sex couples equally during the foster and adoptive certification process. Further research is needed looking at the areas of Family Court and judges' rulings, as well as social workers' perceptions in working with same-sex foster and adoptive parents.

Included in

Social Work Commons