While a growing number of Australian foster care agencies are actively recruiting lesbians and gay men as potential foster carers, few agencies or states have guidelines, policies or legislation explicitly aimed at working with this population. Where guidelines do exist, they carry with them no legislative force, just as much of the legislation relating to registration of foster carers across Australian states provides no legal protection for lesbians or gay men. Where policies do exist, they tend to enshrine a liberal account of sexuality, where individuals are treated as equal before the law, an approach that can function to ignore the discrimination that lesbians and gay men face. The research presented in this chapter begins the work of mapping out some of the potential relationships between guidelines, policy and legislation and the experiences of support from foster care agencies reported by lesbian and gay carers across four Australian states. Findings suggest differences between states in relation to perceived levels of support from both agency workers and the broader community, in addition to differences in the key sources of support reported by participants and their perception of the utility of guidelines for agency workers whose role it is to support lesbian or gay foster carers. Suggestions are tentatively made from these findings in relation to the limitations of adopting a liberal approach to working with lesbian and gay foster carers, and the need to further investigate the effects of policies, guidelines and legislation upon this population.
|Title of host publication||Sexual minority research in the new millenium|
|Number of pages||14|
|Publication status||Published - 2011|