Strong & happy LGBT+ adoptive & foster families
LGBT+ Adoption & Fostering Week 2021
Build Your Family
LGBT+ Adoption & Fostering Week 2021 kicks off today, 1 March. The campaign's led by New Family Social. It brings together fostering and adoption agencies with LGBT+ people who are interested in these routes to parenting. We want to help you find the way forward that's right for you.
There's still a desperate need across the UK for more LGBT+ people to adopt and foster. In England in 2020 some 80,000 vulnerable children were in care. Some LGBT+ people believe their sexual orientation or gender identity will prevent them adopting or fostering. This isn't the case. 1 in 6 adoptions in England in 2020 were to same-sex couples. In Wales it was 1 in 5.
You can start your journey today by checking out the information below. If you're a podcast connoisseur then Adoption, Fostering & Tea may also be for you. Simply sign up for a free Bronze membership to access all the back episodes. Or go to Spotify, Apple or your podcast provider of choice.
The first step is to understand what the criteria are to undertake the assessment process for either adoption or fostering. Your sexual orientation or gender identity shouldn't be a barrier. Many agencies are keen to hear from LGBT+ people who are interested in exploring these routes.
Wherever you are in the UK, you won't be the first LGBT+ person who's fostered or adopted. New Family Social works with some 5,000 LGBT+ adopters and foster carers across the country. We know from government statistics that 1 in 6 adoptions in England in 2020 were to same-sex couples. In Northern Ireland 10 per cent of adopters in 2020 were same-sex couples. In Wales, 1 in 5 adoptions in 2020 were to same-sex couples. And in Scotland in 2019 it was 1 in 12.
Considering fostering? We'd love to help you overcome any nerves about discrimination. Unfortunately, we can't share any positive statistics with you. Neither the statistics collated and published by governments - or the research carried out by national fostering organisations - cover the sexual orientation or gender identity of foster carers.
The next step is to find out more about the process and what it's like. The current restrictions mean that information sessions are held virtually, but that shouldn't put you off. These sessions are a real opportunity to understand how involved the assessment process is, as well as how that particular agency will support you.
You can find sessions taking place soon on our event tool. Some are even specifically held for LGBT+ potential applicants. New Family Social hosts virtual sessions once a month specifically for LGBT+ people interested in finding out more about adoption and fostering.
To access the tool, sign up for a free New Family Social Bronze membership. Then, once you've done that, log in and head over to the tool on your 'My NFS' page.
Alternatively you can watch this pre-recorded session:
Once you're comfortable with the process the next stage is to identify the right agency for you. It may be one that you've attended an information session for already. It may be one that your friends or contacts used. At New Family Social we strongly recommend talking to a number of agencies - not every agency will be right for you. There are different strengths to all agencies, whether they are run by local authorities, the voluntary sector or the private sector.
Our agency finder can help you identify those that offer dedicated support to LGBT+ adopters and foster carers through their membership of New Family Social. To access the finder sign up for a free New Family Social Bronze membership. Then, once you've done that, log in and select 'My NFS' and then 'Friendly agencies'.
When you're exploring agencies it can be helpful to ask questions such as 'how many LGBT+ people are you currently assessing?', 'What experience does your team have in supporting LGBT+ people?' and so on. Agency staff should be able to answer these questions.
The assessment processes for adoption and fostering may be slightly delayed as a result of the current pandemic. The processes are robust, to make sure vulnerable children are placed with people who can provide them with the parenting and support they need. For LGBT+ people the process can feel intrusive. While coming out is an ongoing process for all LGBT+ people, the level and frequency of disclosures the process requires can seem invasive. For this reason it's key that you have a strong relationship with your assessing social worker, who usually acts as your advocate at the approval panels.
Whether you adopt or foster, you'll want to be the right parent for the right child. The matching process is demanding. It's vital to the development of the child that the match is right. You need resilience as an LGBT+ person to navigate this part of the process, as professionals assess your suitability to care for a specific child.