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  • 27 May 2020 16:13 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Adoption, Fostering & Tea is New Family Social's podcast, covering all things in these parenting routes that our LGBT+ member go through.

    The podcast is brought to you by New Family Social - the UK's peer support network for LGBT+ adopters and foster carers - with kind support from Little Radio

    In the latest ep of the podcast Ruby - a lesbian  - shares her experiences of sitting on adoption and fostering panels as a member.

    Our LGBT+ Bronze, Silver & Gold members can also access the full range of back episodes. You can register as a Bronze member for free now, just to do that. 

  • 27 May 2020 09:26 | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    • As the lockdown starts to be eased, from 1 June some young people in England will return to school for the first time in weeks. For all concerned this is an untested time – lockdown meant that children and their parents had little choice but to adapt to home schooling. Now further adaptation is required – as children and teachers adjust to social distancing measures in the classroom and the playground.

      However, for some adopted and foster children just setting off for the return to school will take immense energy. Our members report that one unforeseen side-effect of lockdown and homeschooling is that for those families with an autistic child have found the past weeks less stressful than usual – with the usual daily environmental triggers removed, some of our children are finding home schooling very productive.

      Given the unusual circumstances, it’s worth considering how it’s best for your child to return to school. We’d strongly advise talking it through with your child’s teacher and/or the school’s special educational needs coordinator (SENCO). If both are fully aware of your child’s needs they should be happy to tailor the first days and weeks of return to make it as smooth as it can be for your child. Among the measures you might like to consider are:

      • Is there safety in numbers? Some children find the journey into school challenging, so may benefit from arriving earlier or later over the first few days. Others will prefer to journey in with their friends and be part of the school run.

      • Phasing in a return to the classroom – starting in the classroom on the first day back may be hard for some children. Could they spend the first days in a library or quiet learning area instead?

      • Accept an entire class may be overwhelming – Readjusting to the rhythms and requirements of a lesson may be difficult if your child’s grown accustomed to homeschooling. Instead of focusing on the length of time your child can sit through a lesson, praise them for what they achieve while they’re in it.

      • Care needs to be taken not to overwhelm a child if they fell behind while learning from home. Not all work can be caught up on in the limited time before the summer break and working with your child’s school can help both your family and the school construct a realistic workload to achieve the most possible.

      • Develop a practical way for your child to apply social distancing when they are by themselves. Some of our children struggle with understanding others’ personal space – so using a simple phrase to apply to social distancing will help them to remember to apply it.

  • 22 May 2020 08:03 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Susan and Jane  - a same-sex couple - discuss adopting while serving in the military and their fertility treatment journey, in the third episode of Adoption, Fostering & Tea.

    The podcast is brought to you by New Family Social - the UK's peer support network for LGBT+ adopters and foster carers - with kind support from Little Radio

    New Family Social's LGBT+ Bronze, Silver and Gold members can also access the full episode list

  • 15 May 2020 08:28 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The second episode of Adoption, Fostering & Tea - the New Family Social podcast - is now available for your listening pleasure.

    It focuses on how one same-sex couple has dealt with the delays in the adoption process caused by coronavirus and legal wranglings.

    The podcast is brought to you by New Family Social - the UK's peer support network for LGBT+ adopters and foster carers - with kind support from Little Radio

  • 6 May 2020 10:54 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Adoption, Fostering & Tea - a new podcast by and for LGBT+ adopters and foster carers - is now available on streaming services and via New Family Social's website.

    You can listen to the first episode of the podcast - focusing on Jay and Thom's experiences of the early stages of the adoption process - in the player below.

    The podcast is brought to you by New Family Social - the UK's peer support network for LGBT+ adopters and foster carers - with kind support from Little Radio

  • 3 May 2020 14:07 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Seeking out comforting words or just learning that someone else is going through the same things that you are can offer a release. It is a huge benefit of people being able to post their thoughts and experiences online.

    And whilst it is important, we always struggle to get people to share their little moments of happiness.  It might be getting through another virtual online meeting whilst your kids are fighting with each other in the next room.  It might be suddenly hearing a song that you used to love when you were 14 but have not heard for years.

    So we would like to throw open the metaphorical doors to you all to tell us about things that made you smile or make you go "yesssssss!"

    It's a tough time for lots of people all over the world. Parents with kids may feel particularly challenged and for parents with adopted or foster kids it can feel even more isolating.

    Take a breath, know that you are doing your best, and post something on our website to let the steam out.....

    For me, the following link almost exactly matches the thoughts in my head...

    Teachers ... We're sorry

    I'm happy to be judged....

  • 29 Apr 2020 15:20 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Which agencies have new subscriptions to New Family Social. If you think that you're now covered by a new agency get in touch and we can make you a Gold member for free.

    We're delighted to announce that the North London Fostering & Permanency Consortium and Carmarthen Council Fostering Team are now member agencies of New Family Social. Their LGBT+ foster carers can now apply for Gold memberships with us free-of-charge.

  • 17 Apr 2020 14:20 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    While the adoptions statistics in England are fantastic, it isn’t the first country in the UK to achieve 1 in 7 adoptions by same-sex couples in a year. In fact Wales achieved this impressive proportion in 2018, before falling slightly in 2019.

    Outside England, each country in the UK faces its own unique issues with recruiting LGBT+ adopters and foster carers. In some regions there is a cultural barrier that means few people consider adoption as an option. In others one half of the country may routinely recruit a diverse pool of adopters or foster carers, but the other half struggle to recruit any at all.

    For these reasons New Family Social is reorganising that way it approaches each country, so that our services can be better targeted to local need. In practice this means that instead of approaching Scotland and Wales as regions in their own right, each country will be split into north and south operations, making it easier for us to better reach our social worker colleagues in each country.

    This also means that we’re changing our approach in England, again adopting the government’s regional boundaries. In practice this means that while the number of regions in England diminishes, there’s an increase in the regions of operations in Wales and Scotland. For the time being Northern Ireland will remain one region until our expertise and adoption/fostering inclusion work develops in that country.

    These changes will take place in the second quarter of 2020, with work feverishly ongoing to make sure that our member agencies have the access they need to the new site to develop their work.


    • New Family Social is honing the way it works with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to improve its service delivery in each country, with the goal to see an increase in the number of LGBT+ people applying to adopt or foster in each.
    • Wales was first country in the UK to achieve 1 in 7 adoptions to same-sex couples in a year.
    • New regions follow government boundaries for our member agencies’ ease.

  • 17 Apr 2020 11:27 | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    27 Sep 2019 11:21 | NFS Staffer James Lawrence

    More carers are needed, but how can we inspire more LGBT+ people to foster when we don’t know how many already do so?

    Statistics and monitoring matter at a time when there’s an urgent and desperate need for more foster carers across the UK. The Fostering Network estimates that a further 8,600 foster families are needed in the next 12 months alone.

    LGBT+ people form an essential pool of potential applicants. Same-sex couples now account for 1 in 7 adoptions in England. It’s no coincidence that as each data release shows an increase of LGBT+ people adopting, the number grows the following year as more LGBT+ people are inspired to find out more.

    But there’s a lingering expectation of discrimination among LGBT+ people when it comes to fostering. YouGov polling shows that 8 in 10 lesbian, gay and bisexual people expect to encounter barriers to become foster carers because of their sexual orientation. Despite hard work by some foster agencies to engage more LGBT+ people with fostering, this is hampered by an ongoing absence of data about how many successfully do so. There’s no national picture to describe, no dataset published. With no data to help inspire LGBT+ people to consider fostering, the best efforts of any agency trying to engage LGBT+ potential carers are seriously hampered.

    New Family Social remains committed to working with foster care agencies, national fostering bodies and the government to improve the data collation and publication of LGBT+ engagement with fostering.

  • 18 Mar 2020 19:50 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    What are the benefits of adoption / fostering – and which suits you best?  

    There’s no such thing as ’perfect parenting’, as different children need different parenting styles. You can parent your own forever family, the way that’s most appropriate and meets your family’s needs. Depending on your own life story, your parenting style may be completely differently to the way you were raised.

    This may challenge your extended family members, who are less aware of the needs of your child.  So long as you create a warm and loving attachment with your children, meet their basic needs, provide reassurance, comfort and security, then you are likely to build strong foundations for your attachment. 

    For looked after children, being linked with adoptive parents and foster carers, can offer long term stability. However, they may also experience feelings of grief when placements end and guilt if they have to be separated from their siblings. They may also feel guilty about feeling attached to parents and carers who aren’t their birth family.

    Prospective adopters can access a wealth of information of their child(ren’s) past medical and family history. Foster carers are rarely presented with such information from the outset and may only find out detailed information as the placement progresses. As an adopter or foster carer you may be able to bring your own life experiences into play, parenting the child(ren) as they grow up. However, no amount of paperwork can capture all of a child’s experiences and adopters and foster carers often work hard to help their children identify why certain things act as a trigger to their behaviours.

    The decision to adopt or foster is one that can’t be entered into lightly – adopters and foster cares play a key role in helping build the self-confidence and identity of vulnerable children and young people. In England one in seven adoptions in 2019 were to same-sex couples. Unfortunately there’s no comparable on the number of LGBT+ people who foster, although individual agencies may share their data when trying to encourage more LGBT+ people to apply.

    The key differences between adoption and fostering are that the former is not time limited and legal responsibility for the child completely passes over to you as the parent. Adoption leads to a withdrawal of social services from the child’s life, in terms of routine monitoring visits. Adoptive parents can make decisions about medical treatment and schooling without involving social services – unless they want to. Until the adoption order is finalised legal responsibility for the child is shared between social services and the adoptive parents.

    Fostering is a more flexible approach to building your family – as foster carers can choose to offer respite care or short-term placements – but it comes with less permanence and the possibility that the child may quickly return to their parents if their circumstances change. Legally, foster carers are responsible for meeting the needs of the child and are monitored and held accountable by the state. If you’re uncomfortable with the idea that while you can input into decisions for the child you care for, you may be overruled by social services then fostering may not be for you.

    In recent years a third model of family-building has developed – sometimes called ‘foster to adopt’ – where potential adopters act as foster carers to an infant in care who is likely to have adoption as their long-term care plan. Once adoption is decided by the courts as the appropriate care plan for the child the carers who were fostering to adopt can move to legally adopt the child.

    Ultimately, the choice between adoption, fostering and fostering to adopt is only one that you and your family can make. Once you’ve evaluated which journey best meets your needs we strongly advise talking to a number of different agencies – you all need to feel comfortable as you move forward and agencies can have a different tone and environment to them.

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