Spotlight On: LGBT+ Fostering
This month (2nd-8th March, in particular) a series of events are taking place throughout the UK for members of the LGBT+ community who are interested in adoption or fostering. This is an annual event, aimed at giving the LGBT+ community a window into the world of fostering and adoption if it is a path they are considering.
As an inclusive fostering agency, here at Lorimer Fostering, we accept applications from people no matter their race, sexuality or gender. As such, here are a few important things to know as an LGBT+ person considering the route of fostering:
For many members of the LGBT+ community, the fear of not being ‘allowed’ to foster is often quoted as a major reason why they do not. Many people, whatever their sexuality, have an idea that you have to be married or in a long-term committed relationship in order to be allowed to foster. However, this is simply not the case.
Single, married or long-term partners. Any gender, sexuality, or religion. Typically, when it comes to your home life, the only thing that may restrict your ability to foster is whether or not you have space available for a young person to make their own. So, any fears that fostering is not possible due to your sexuality or gender identity are largely unfounded.
In 2010, the University of Cambridge conducted research with 82 children and young people who had LGBT+ parents. This was to help learn more about their home and school lives. A number of important discoveries were made as a result of this study:
- Young children are unable to see any difference between their own families and ‘nuclear’ families involving straight parents.
- Older children did tend to find their family special, but only in the sense that they felt they were closer than most families they knew.
- Children with LGBT+ parents like having LGBT+ parents. The study found that they would not want to change their families, only have other people be more accepting.
The wellbeing of LGBT+ families and foster homes, then, seems particularly positive. Research carried out by the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) found that gay fathers were doing particularly well.
All research points to children having happy and healthy lives as much in an LGBT+ home as a straight one.
Support for LGBT+ Foster Carers
Outside of a fostering agency, there are a number of organisations who support the LGBT+ fostering community. New Family Social, Fosterline, Stonewall and BAAF, to name a few. They provide advice, but also offer social spaces for LGBT+ foster carers and children to use. It provides them with an opportunity to know there are other families like them out there.
Overall, becoming a foster carer is not restricted by being a part of the LGBT+ community. This should not stop you from following a fostering path if that is what you want to do!
Events at Lorimer House
We hold regular events at our office for those interested in becoming a foster carer. You can find out more about upcoming events by visiting the events page on our website. We would love for you to come along and meet with our friendly team to ask any questions you may have!