Strong & happy LGBTQ+ adoptive & foster families
LGBT+ Adoption & Fostering Week 2022
Be The Change
LGBT+ Adoption & Fostering Week returns today. Over the next few days we’ll share inspiring stories from LGBT+ people who already parent or care for looked-after children, along with the results of some new research.
If you adopt or foster the children you parent or care for may be in a sibling group. You may come into their lives when they are no longer a toddler – they might be five years old or more.
Some LGBT+ people are adoptive parents or foster carers to children with life-limiting or life-changing conditions.
You may parent or care for a child who has a mental health issue, is neurodivergent or has a condition associated with trauma. It’s possible you live with some of these issues yourself and wonder if those will disqualify you from adopting or fostering.
Some LGBT+ adopters and foster carers parent or care for children who don’t share their heritage. Adoption and fostering agencies have to make the best matches they can with the applicants who come forward.
The need for more LGBT+ people to consider adoption or fostering is as great as ever. In England in 2021 there were 80,850 looked-after children. In Scotland in 2020 there were 14,458 looked-after children. In Wales in 2021 there were 7,265 looked-after children. In Northern Ireland in 2021 there were 3,530 children and young people in care. Wherever you are in the UK, if you're LGBT+ you can adopt or foster and #BeTheChange vulnerable children need. Much has been done to encourage LGBT+ people to adopt or foster. When this campaign started 1 in 31 adoptions in England were to same-sex couples. Now it's 1 in 6. But the increasing figures show there's still much more to do.
Join New Family Social
Today we’ll focus on those LGBT+ people who adopt or foster children in sibling groups. If you’re LGBT+ and considering adopting siblings you’re not alone. New analysis by Link Maker found that 47 per cent of same-sex couples awaiting a match were open to adopting siblings.
If you're one of our members you can also read our report Strength in Numbers, which polled LGBT+ people on sibling adoption.
For the second day of LGBT+ Adoption & Fostering Week we’re showcasing stories from people who adopted or currently foster older children. In every nation in the UK more than 6 in 10 looked-after children are aged 5 years or more. In England, some 6 in 6 in 10 children - 63 per cent - who started to be looked after in 2021, were aged 5 and over. Similarly, in Scotland in 2020, 6 in 10 children – 61 per cent – who started to be looked-after were aged 5 and over.
In Wales in 2021 some 8 in 10 – 77 per cent – of looked-after children were aged 5 or over. In Northern Ireland in 2021 some 8 in 10 – 77 per cent – looked-after children were aged 5 or over.
For the fourth day of LGBT+ Adoption & Fostering Week we’re showcasing stories of children, adopters and foster carers who experience mental health, neurodivergence and trauma associated conditions. Our members can also log in to the site to access brand new research results.
For the final day of the campaign sharing the stories of LGBT+ people already adopting or fostering, we’ll focus on those from a global majority background. We’ll also share the story of an LGBT+ adoptive parent who is also an adoptee – and whose adoptive parents don’t share their heritage.
Agencies supporting the campaign
Adopt Coast to Coast / Adopt East / Adopt London / Adopt South / Adopt South West / Adopt Thames Valley / Adopters for Adoption / Adoption Central England / Adoption Connects / Adoption Counts / Adoption Focus / Adoption in Merseyside / Adoption Matters / Adoption Mid & West Wales / Adoption Now / Adoption South East / Adoption Tees Valley / Adoption West / Adoption@Heart / Arc Adoption NE / Barnardo's / Barnardo's Scotland Adoption Service / Barnardo's West / Barnardo's Yorkshire / Barnardo’s Fostering London and South East / Birmingham Children's Trust / Bradford City Metropolitan District Council / Brighter Futures for Children / Brighton & Hove City Council / Bristol City Council / Buckinghamshire Council / Bury Metropolitan Council / Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Adoption / Cambridgeshire County Council / Caritas Care / CCS Adoption / City of York Council / Compass Fostering / Coram Ambitious for Adoption / Diagrama / Essex County Council / Families for Children Trust / Family Futures / Fusion Fostering / Hampshire County Council / Hertfordshire County Council / Inverclyde Council / Kirklees Council / Leicester City Council / Leicestershire County Council / Lincolnshire County Council / London Borough of Southwark / London Borough of Tower Hamlets / London Borough of Waltham Forest / National Fostering Group / North Lincolnshire Council / North London Fostering & Permanence Consortium / Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council / One Adoption North & Humber RAA / One Adoption West Yorkshire RAA / Oxfordshire County Council / PACT / Rochdale Borough Council Fostering Service / Scottish Adoption / South Gloucestershire Council / Southampton City Council / St Andrew's Children's Society / St Francis' Children's Society / Staffordshire County Council / Stockport Council Fostering Service / Surrey County Council / Sutton Council / Thurrock Council / Together for Adoption and ... Vale, Valleys & Cardiff Regional Adoption Collaborative. We thank them all.
Is your adoption or fostering agency is a member of New Family Social? Does it want to support LGBT+ Adoption & Fostering Week?
You can watch this pre-recorded session, for introductory information on adopting or fostering if you're LGBTQ+:
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.