For too long, people from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities were excluded from society. The tide is changing and with LGBT fostering on the rise, isn’t it time you took a closer look at what fostering could mean to you and the children you care for?
Children who are in care are vulnerable. A traumatic start in life can spell disaster but with a network of foster carers across the country taking in these children, they enter adulthood with a sense of identity and strength.
And LGBT fostering is part of this process and this is what you need to know:
Being lesbian, gay, bi or transgender is NOT a bar to fostering
It is not your sexual or gender preferences that define whether you can foster or not, but whether you are over the age of 21, have a spare room and the outlook needed to give a child a home that is safe and nurturing.
Foster children are NOT damaged by having two dads or two mums
LGBT adoption rates have increased significantly in recent years and it is from studies and research in this field that we know children, whether adopted or fostered, do not suffer as a result of having same-sex parents.
In fact, research has shown that LGBT foster carers use their life experiences to understand the stigma, struggles and prejudice that foster children can face.
LGBT fostering IS becoming a ‘thing’
Adoption rates for LGBT adopters are increasing and the good news is, so too are LGBT foster carers. In recent months, the Welsh Government issued a plea for more LGBT foster carers.
Likewise, foster agencies across the country are also taking strides to make sure that LGBT fostering is a ‘thing’ and that it stays a ‘thing’.
There are different types of fostering placements
The needs of foster children and their birth families vary considerably and this is why there is a growing need for a range of foster placement types. As an LGBT foster carer, none of these placements are off limits.
In fact, the kind of foster placement you decide to offer will entirely depend on how you think you can offer the best in term of love and support to a child when they need it most.
You may want to offer planned, short-term foster care or want to foster a child in the longer term. Or maybe occasional fostering, known as respite care, would suit you better?
There are many fostering placement options – the fostering agency social worker assigned to you will talk you through them all.
It’s the same fostering approval process as ‘straight’ people
There is no separate fostering approval process that you need to go through as part of applying to be a foster carer. The approval process takes about six months and includes initial home visits, foster care training and if all goes well and you decide to continue, the final approval panel.
If you care, YOU CAN
ALL foster carers have a lot of love to give and LGBT foster carers are no different. There are rewards such as watching your foster child reach a goal or enjoy making friends, maintaining healthy contact with their birth family.
But there are challenges too – the tears at so much rejection, the uncertainty, pain and hurt.
Every foster parent plays a crucial role in the life of a fostered child. LGBT foster carers are valued in exactly the same way as other foster carers are.
So, what’s stopping you from opening your life and home to a foster child?
Why not take Fostering People’s eligibility quiz to see if you have what it takes to foster? With their great package of support, LGBT fostering is successful and very much ‘a thing’.