Adoption and welfare agencies are targeting gay and lesbian couples to look after children with advertisements placed in a weekly Victorian gay publication.

The Melbourne Star has featured advertisements from two adoption agencies, Share Care and Good Shepherd Youth and Family Services, which seek to recruit foster carers from the gay and lesbian community.

Share Care spokesperson Janet Elefsiniotis told the Herald Sun sexuality shouldn’t be an issue in foster care placements.

This is just one of a range of strategies we are engaging in. We believed gay and lesbians were an untapped market, Elefsiniotis said.

Elefsinitios told the Herald Sun that a person’s commitment to the nurturing of children, not sexuality, was most important when making placements.

To date children have already been placed with seven gay and lesbian families, Elefsiniotis said.

Marilyn Webster, the social policy manager for Good Shepherd Youth and Family Services, an agency with links to the Catholic Church, refused to comment officially on the matter but told the Star the placements to date were emergency ones, not permanent.

But not all are pleased by the moves with Victorian Opposition Community Services spokesperson Helen Shardey telling the Herald Sun the revelations were a dire concern.

It is frightening to think a child who has not been exposed to homosexuality is being placed somewhere where homosexuality is the lifestyle, Shardey said.

International adoption is also on the agenda this week with America’s largest legal group considering the rights of gay and lesbian couples to adopt.

The American Bar Association is due to vote on a resolution to permit joint and second parent adoptions which extend to unmarried heterosexual and gay and lesbian couples.

Member of the ABA House of Delegates Paula Frederick told the Atlanta Journal Constitution she supports the resolution and believes gay and lesbian couples should be afforded adoption rights.

I think it’s a wonderful thing for children to find two people who’ll love them and are willing to adopt them. There are too many unwanted children out there who need loving parents, Frederick said.

Across the US, eight states and the District of Columbia have passed laws or had court rulings allowing a second gay parent to join with an adoptive parent as legal guardian.

The Californian Supreme Court was the latest to guarantee the rights of gay and lesbian couples to adopt on 4 August.

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