Strong & happy LGBT+ adoptive & foster families

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Frequently Asked Qs

Some quick answers 

Starting to consider adopting or fostering? Then read a little bit about the requirements.

What our census does and does not reveal.

1 in 6 adoptions in England in 2020 were to same-sex couples. But LGBT+ applicants still have an expectation of discrimination. 

News - from NFS & our agency friends

A word from...... James Lawrence, Head of Communications & Engagement

At the time of writing the UK is in the midst of Foster Care Fortnight. It’s a much-needed initiative to encourage more people across the country to consider fostering some of our most vulnerable children. Foster carers play a vital role for looked-after children during some of their most difficult times. The need for more foster carers grows every year and it can be a real challenge for services to find the right carers to meet children’s specific needs.

LGBT+ people in the UK can both foster and adopt. Polling of LGBT+ people consistently identifies concerns that their sexual orientation or gender identity will be a barrier for them in the process. Despite this government statistics show that 1 in 6 adoptions in England in 2020 were to same-sex couples. When we asked our LGBT+ adopter and foster carer members last year, 7 in 10 knew the current statistic. The adoption figure matters because it inspires confidence among potential applicants who carry a historical expectation of discrimination.

The absence of a comparable statistic for fostering creates an immediate problem for agencies keen to hear from potential applicants. There’s no evidence base to challenge the expectation of discrimination LGBT+ people have about applying to foster. YouGov polling in 2013 found that eight in ten lesbian, gay and bisexual people expected to face barriers if they applied to become foster parents. There’s little evidence to show an improvement in this.

Through our work with fostering agencies we know some make a concerted effort to include LGBT+ people in their communications and better understand their concerns. This is truly welcome and - as we saw with adoption - LGBT+ applicants will vote with their feet and head to those agencies their friends and contacts had a positive experience with. But the data void around LGBT+ people’s engagement with fostering will frustrate any national recruitment campaign the fostering sector runs. To be successful it needs to show growth in numbers of LGBT+ foster carers in a positive direction across the country, to inspire more to participate. Until that’s an integral part of a fostering applicant recruitment strategy, the sector faces an uphill struggle to replicate the level of engagement with LGBT+ people that adoption services enjoy.

Barnardo's South EastBarnardo's is a member of New Family Social

1 in 6

adoptions in England in 2020 were to same-sex  couples

3 in 4

 New Family Social adopters consider adopting siblings


The total number of children in foster care in England

Looking to provide better services to LGBT+ applicants? Look no further

Smiling Social Worker

Some 60 foster agencies joined NFS in 2019. Find out why we're working together.

Rainbow painted Road

Increasing numbers of agencies turn to LGBT+ applicants. What are your options?

Girl on bench with question Mark - What is the support like in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Support from LGBT+ friendly agencies is rising across every UK country. 

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