Main | Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Arizona House Votes To Give Adoption Preference To Married Straights

Yesterday the Arizona House voted to give married couples first dibs on adoptable children. Only if no married straight couples can be found would a child become available to others.
HB 2148 would overrule the existing practice of the Department of Economic Security that makes the "best interests of the child" the primary factor when considering placing a child for adoption. Instead, it would require the DES and agencies that contract with the state to give "primary consideration to placement with a married couple." The DES could consider a single person "only if a qualified married couple is not available." The measure is being pushed by Rep. Warde Nichols, R-Gilbert. He said married couples should be "moved to the head of the line" for adoption if they've gone through the certification process. And Nichols, who was adopted, said his legislation is in line with what the law already requires.

"The best interest of the child is to be adopted and placed," he said. "And the best possible scenario of that is to go with a married couple." Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Phoenix, said she fears the change would result in some children who are ready for adoption not being placed. She said this could be particularly true for "hard to adopt" youngsters who are either older or have special needs. For example, Sinema said, a single woman who is a nurse may be in a far better position to deal with an adopted child who has particular medical problems than a married couple without medical training. "So there are instances where the best interests of the child are met by someone other than a married couple," she said.
(Tipped by JMG reader Homer in Tucson)

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