Foster Care 101

Fostering for Single and LGBTQ Individuals

Single People

Historically, the foster care system has been accessible to single people looking to become a foster parent. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, roughly 28% of all foster and foster-to-adopt parents are single.

As to what the experience is like for single foster parents, there’s not much data. However, one survey of single mothers of adopted children showed they generally felt like the burden and challenges they encountered were similar to women raising children in a two parent household.

On one hand, as a single parent you get to establish the rhythm of the house and the behaviors you want to encourage. On the other hand, single parents shoulder a larger financial burden, and if there is an interruption at home or at work, the other may suffer.

If becoming a solo foster parent is an option you’re considering, we recommend taking a look at our course on becoming a solo parent.

LGBTQ Individuals and Couples

Historically, the foster care system has been somewhat less accepting of LGBTQ families. Today, roughly 3%–6% of foster children live in LGBTQ households.

When we speak with LGBTQ couples who fostered 10–15 years ago, we hear mixed experiences about how they felt perceived by agencies and social workers but many believe the process has improved.

As for the impressions and impact of foster children themselves, a University of Texas survey of foster and adopted children of LGBTQ families showed generally positive feelings.

To the positive, many felt their foster or adoptive parents were more open, accepting and sensitive. The biggest drawback was a fear of being teased.

When investigators at University of Kentucky tried to gauge the impact on adopted children of being part of an LGBTQ family, they recorded similar findings. Seventy-four percent of surveyed children demonstrated positive abilities to cope, resilience and feelings about their family.

While 57% of children experienced microaggressions, less than 10% experienced bullying or teasing. While microaggressions can be difficult to absorb (bullying or teasing being the hardest), investigators generally found children recounted their experiences with “neutral” or average levels of distress.