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ABC Family’s “The Fosters” May Raise Awareness of LGBT Families, Foster Care

Photo courtesy of ABC Family.

Photo courtesy of ABC Family.

Is America ready for a family drama about an interracial lesbian couple raising a multi-ethnic mix of foster, adopted and biological children?

Bradley Bredeweg and Peter Paige, the creators of the upcoming ABC Family series “The Fosters,” think so. In fact, the series will begin airing in  June, the same month the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue crucial decisions that will affect how gay marriage is treated in California and the rest of the nation.

“We wanted to do something in this alternative family space,” said Paige, an actor, director and playwright. “The face of the American family is certainly changing all around us.”

The Fosters stars from left David Lambert as Brandon; Teri Polo as Stef Foster;  Sherri Saum as Lena Adams; Jake T. Austin as Jesus; Cierra Ramirez as Marianna; and Maia Mitchell as Callie. Photo courtesy of ABC Family.

The Fosters stars from left David Lambert as Brandon; Teri Polo as Stef Foster; Sherri Saum as Lena Adams; Jake T. Austin as Jesus; Cierra Ramirez as Marianna; and Maia Mitchell as Callie. Photo courtesy of ABC Family.

“The Fosters” stars Teri Polo and Sherri Saum as a Stef Foster and Lena Adams, a police officer and school vice principal who are raising Stef’s biological son from a previous marriage and adopted twins.

Their close-knit family is challenged when they take in Callie (actress Maia Mitchell), a hardened teenager who has been bounced from foster home to foster home.

The series will also feature social workers.

There will be a social worker in the pilot episode and actor Geoffrey Rivas will have a recurring role as Bill, the social worker who helped Stef and Lena adopt the twins and offers the family advice.

 

“The Fosters” premieres June 3 at 9 p.m. Eastern/8 p.m. Central on ABC Family. So far 10 episodes are planned. Producers want to hear from real-life social workers about what they think about the program. Email gwright@naswdc.org to pass on your comments.

Actor Geoffrey Rivas is slated to play Bill, a social worker.

Actor Geoffrey Rivas is slated to play Bill, a social worker, in “The Fosters.”

The program is weeks away from going on air but has already stirred some controversy. OneMillionMoms.com, a website launched by the conservative American Family Association, is asking members to send letters to ABC Family opposing the program and asking the network not to air it.

“While foster care and adoption is a wonderful thing and the Bible does teach us to help orphans, this program is attempting to redefine marriage and family by having two moms raise these children together,” OneMillionMoms.com posted.

The Census Bureau reported there were 594,000 same-sex couple households in the United States in 2010, including 115,000 with children.

Bredeweg and Paige said they hope “The Fosters” will show the public that families led by gay and lesbian parents can thrive. They also want to raise  awareness about such families in the same way “The Cosby Show” and “Roseanne” changed the public perception of African American middle class families and economically struggling working class households.

And although gay men and gay male parents are already being featured prominently on programs such as “Glee” on Fox and “The New Normal” on NBC, it is rare to see two women in a relationship with a family although many such families exist in the United States, they said.

“You know we are not seeing is lesbian women running a household,” Paige said. “And we saw so many families created like that.”

The National Association of Social Workers is committed to equal treatment for all, including members of the LGBT community. To learn more go to NASW’s Diversity and Equity website. NASW also has information on adoption and foster care at this resources web page.

 

 

 

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