There is a shortage of 7,000 foster families in the UK. We need to attract people into foster care from all the communities that make up our diverse nation. A key group is the LGBT community. In 2018, we will focus on this particular group as what they offer to the world of fostering can be unique. The LGBT Adoption and Fostering week runs annually and first started in 2012. The purpose of the week is always to offer a focus to concentrate attention on the successes and commitment of the nation’s LGBT adoptive parents and foster carers. The purpose of this week is also to make information available about what fostering involves – and how to become a foster carer if you are a member of the LGBT community.
Agencies recognise the skills of LGBT foster carers
Record numbers of potential LGBT adopters and foster carers are now being reached. Figures now show that same-sex couples are responsible for 1 in 12 adoptions. Encouragingly, other statistics reveal that this is a rising trend and also includes fostering. This is highly significant given the real problems in recruiting foster carers generally. The Department of Education highlighted the fact that in England – between April 2014 – March 2015, 8.44% of adoptions were accounted for by same-sex couples. This figure was up from just 3.27% in 2011 – clearly a significant rise. In England there were 450 adoptions by same-sex couples, in Scotland there were 17 and in Wales there were 30. Responding to this trend, the chief executive of the adoption charity, New Family Social, Tor Doherty told Pink News: “it’s key in every adoption case that the needs of the child are paramount throughout” and “It’s fantastic that adoption agencies increasingly recognise the skills that LGBT can bring as parents to meet those children’s needs.”
Such a dramatic rise has to be of compelling interest to the fostering sector as a whole – certainly at Rainbow Fostering, we value highly the commitment and resilience of all LGBT foster carers. And the light of current recruitment challenges, the industry should reflect on one statistic produced by New Family Social: if just 1% of LGBT people were to adopt or foster, there would no longer be any children or young people waiting for a new home.
Of particular note is the fact, according to Tor Doherty from New Family Social, that this group are very often far more willing to consider children who are harder to place – such as teenagers or those presenting with a range special needs, or those who are members of sibling groups. And there are definite reasons as to why this is so: social workers have reported in studies produced by the Rees Centre (Research in Fostering and Education – University of Oxford Department of Education), that LBGT
carers can display very particular strengths in relation to providing foster care. These included ‘psychological stability, sensitivity, educational accomplishments, financial security, strong support systems – as well as resourcefulness’.
In another study, social workers had the opinion that because LGBT foster carers very often had direct experience of discrimination and marginalisation, their capabilities in considering the challenges inherent in fostering were raised alongside their general resilience. Being a foster parent presents many challenges and resilience is certainly a key attribute.
Could you meet the challenge and be a foster carer in 2018?
Whatever your religion, background or personal situation, we would be delighted to speak with you if you are interested in becoming a foster carer. We are also particularly keen to attract people from the LGBT community who may be thinking of a career in foster care.
Thinking of transferring?
If you are already an approved carer (already with a long term foster placement), and considering transferring to another service provider, Rainbow will make the process efficient and stress free. Joining us also means you may be eligible for a special ‘Rainbow Reward’ bonus – more information on this scheme is available if you call 020 8427 3355. We also pay a bonus of £500 if you are a carer and can refer an acquaintance to become a foster carer. You will receive the bonus once the first placement has been made.
In the news: latest foster care news story
Call for additional free childcare for foster children
November 13th, 2017
The Westminster Government has come under pressure to reverse a discriminatory decision to exclude all foster children from receiving an additional fifteen hours of free childcare. Charities and other organisations have attacked the decision as being unfair. In a letter sent to the ‘Guardian’ newspaper, these bodies urged Robert Goodwill, the Children’s Minister, to look again at the eligibility criteria and overturn the decision immediately.
The letter states that: “Children aged three and four across England are now entitled to an extra 15 hours of free childcare each week, with the exception of fostered children who have been explicitly and inexplicably excluded.” (more) http://bit.ly/2e8PrIK
And the good news at the end of this Rainbow…we are now well on the way to compiling our list of Award Winners for this years ‘Foster Carer Awards’.