LGBT Foster and Adoption Week at the start of March 2018 was a success. As well as encouraging conversation around fostering and the LGBT community, it was also a chance to examine the difference that foster carers make to the lives of the children they care for.
The theme this year was ’10 Good Reasons’ why LGBT people should consider fostering (and adoption). With two reasons released daily via the social media accounts of New Family Social, the organisation who runs the week-long campaign, it is hoped that more people will become foster parents.
What were the ’10 Good Reasons’?
- Support for you – to be a foster carer, you need support so when challenges and opportunities come along, you will have the support to make the decision which is right for you as a foster family.
- Negative issues – foster children can face a barrage of negative issues in their lives, something that LGBT foster carers may have had first-hand experience of navigating.
- LGBT foster carers support each other too – the more LGBT foster carers that come to fostering, the better the support for each other
- Thousands of children in the care system – in England in 2017, 72,670 children were looked after. The organisers of LGBT foster care week also gave the figures for Wales and Scotland.
- A growing strength – both LGBT foster carers and adopters are growing in number, doubling in Scotland in the last three years.
- Adoptions in Wales – the week didn’t just focus on fostering but adoptions too, with 1 in 3 children in Wales adopted by an LGBT adopter or couple.
- Adoptions in England – 1 in 10 children in England were adopted by a same-sex couple.
- A growing need – there are 7,180 more foster carers needed in the UK. Could you give a child a home?
- Helping families stay together – by offering respite or short-term foster care to a child, the pressure is taken off a family and with the right support, they can become a family again. Foster care can keep families together during difficult times.
- Need - there is a need for foster carers from a range of backgrounds, including the LGBT communities.
A real need
In modern Britain, there is a very real need for foster carers and families from all walks of life and backgrounds. With a diverse base of foster carers, agencies and local authorities are better placed to match children with the right foster family.
It is hard to imagine how far has come in recent times. Arguments against people from the LGBT community fostering and adopting have proved unfounded; foster children are not scarred by having two dads or two mums - in fact, they thrive in the love, care and attention they receive.
But there is some way to go. We need to encourage more people to take the step to becoming foster parents.
Fostering transform children’s lives. There are many benefits that fostering brings to you and the looked after child but at the top of the list is the reason why every foster carer does what they do: to make a difference to a child’s life.