Spotlight On: LGBT Fostering
This month (3rd-9th March, in particular) a series of events throughout the UK for lesbian, gay and trans people interested in adoption or LGBT fostering occurred. 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. Man or woman. No matter your sexuality. Typically, the only circumstances of your home life that restrict your ability to foster involve whether or not you have the adequate space or not. 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 to 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.
At the end of the day, 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 which offer support to the LGBT fostering community. Fosterline, Stonewall, New Family Social and BAAF, but to name a few. They provide advice, but also offer space social spaces for LGBT fosterers and to the children so that they 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 and so this should not stop you from following a fostering path if that is what you want to do!