More Same-Sex Foster Carers Are Needed
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGBT) are being encouraged to consider fostering or adopting. To try and meet the growing demand for foster carers, events are being held nationwide to give LGBT people an opportunity to talk to adoption and fostering agencies and current adopters and foster carers about the process, what it entails and the rewards it brings with it.
The introduction into Parliament of the ‘same-sex marriage bill’ and the ‘children and families bill’ has prompted the need for more same-sex foster carers.
Children in same-sex families has risen
As a result of this introduction the number of children in placement with same-sex couples has risen over recent years. However, due to the growing number of children being taken into care, more same-sex foster carers and adoptive parents are still urgently needed.
Andy Leary-May from New Family Social, a charity run by LGBT adopters and foster carers, has highlighted that if only 2% of the community took the step to foster or adopt, the shortfall of foster carers could be met.
Although people’s attitudes towards homosexual couples have improved over recent years, many problems do remain and the charity New Family Social regularly receives reports of cases of prejudice.
Many agencies now actively look for lesbian and gay foster carers. In a continued effort to improve practice. To address any remaining prejudices New Family Social is creating a set of advice notes to support professionals in undertaking thorough assessments and decisions, taking into account circumstances specific to LGBT people. The advice notes will be published by the British Association of Adoption and Fostering.
Children living with lesbian or gay foster carers are just as likely to thrive
A new research study is also being published – the first of its kind in the UK – analysing the experiences of children in adoptive same-sex families. This research has been undertaken by the Cambridge University’s centre for family research. The findings suggest that children adopted by gay or lesbian couples are just as likely to thrive as those adopted by heterosexual couples. It also highlights that LGBT families cope just as well as so-called “traditional families” with the challenges that come with taking on children in care who have had a difficult start in life.
These results are of course not surprising. Many agencies are aware of the benefits of the positive choice many LGBT people make for adoption or fostering, and the commitment and quality of care they bring to it.
Should it matter?
Your eligibility to be a foster or adoptive parent is not based on your gender, race or marital status, nor should it be based on your sexuality. Instead it should depend on your ability to be a positive influence in the life of a looked after young person. Being able to provide a safe, supportive, loving home environment and providing them with the skills and confidence needed to flourish, thrive and reach their potential should be paramount to what makes a ‘suitable’ parent!
If you are interested to find out more about becoming a foster carer then please contact us or alternatively you can submit your details on the form in the top right of this page and we will call you back.