Children do best with a mom and a dad.

This isn’t the first time I’ve led one of these posts out like this, but once again we’re seeing CAP-supported SB 1188 be mischaracterized and attacked in the media.

SB 1188 requires that marital status be considered in adoption placements and establishes a preference for children to be adopted by a married man and woman when all other relevant factors are equal.

This law is based off of common sense, backed up by sound social science data. Think about it: a mom and a dad each bring something unique to raising a child, which creates an ideal environment for the child to succeed. If there’s any question, check out what Dr. Brad Wilcox has found on the subject through his studies.

But in a recent Arizona Capitol Times story, we’re reading the same tired story line about how bad this law is and how it will discourage people from adopting and cause children to wait longer to find homes.

Let’s stop the rhetoric for a minute and look at the realities of the law. When the state is considering where to place a child, they have a number of factors to consider, the most important of which is the best interests of the child.

Keeping with this principle and based off of the research that shows that children do best when placed with a mom and a dad, SB 1188 established a soft preference for this scenario, with the caveat that the state has the discretion to place the child in a single parent home if it’s the best situation.

The law says it best:

“C. IF ALL RELEVANT FACTORS ARE EQUAL AND THE CHOICE IS BETWEEN A MARRIED MAN AND WOMAN CERTIFIED TO ADOPT AND A SINGLE ADULT CERTIFIED TO ADOPT, PLACEMENT PREFERENCE SHALL BE WITH A MARRIED MAN AND WOMAN.

D. IN EACH ADOPTION PROCEEDING, THE COURT SHALL MAKE FINDINGS ON THE RECORD REGARDING THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILD PURSUANT TO LAW”

For the Record:

  • SB 1188 is not about same-sex adoption, and says nothing about the issue. Arizona law currently does not allow for same-sex couples to jointly adopt. This bill is about giving kids a chance to have a mom and a dad.
  • According to the Arizona Department of Economic Security, as of March 31, there were 10,707 children in out-of-home care, and almost 1,700 of those are legally eligible for adoption. The need for homes for these children is so great, there’s no reason that this soft provision in the law would cause any delay for an adult wanting to adopt a child.
  • SB 1188 has been in effect for less than four months. Stories coming out about it now talking about the “negative effect” of the law are premature, and only serve to advance the opponents of the law’s talking points. In reality, if any adult is discouraged from becoming a foster parent or adopting, it’s because of the distortions these opponents are promoting in the media.

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