Campaign to recruit lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adopters and foster carers launched

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SUFFOLK is playing its part in the first ever nation-wide campaign to recruit more lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people into adoption and fostering

 

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SUFFOLK is playing its parting in the first ever nation-wide campaign to recruit more lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people into adoption and fostering.

 

On Monday 20 February 2012, the national LGB&T Adoption and Fostering Week kicks off – during which Suffolk will be hosting an information event in Ipswich.

In Suffolk there are currently 820 children in care, and almost 50 children waiting to be adopted. Suffolk County Council’s fostering and adoption services believe the LGB&T community is a huge, untapped resource of potential adopters and foster carers.

Councillor Graham Newman, Suffolk County Council’s portfolio holder for children, schools and young people’s services, said:

“It’s important that Suffolk County Council recruits adopters and foster carers from all walks of life to provide much needed homes for Suffolk’s vulnerable children. We’re supporting this year’s campaign in an effort to encourage more people from the LGB&T community to come forward and consider this life changing opportunity. Over the last few years, Suffolk’s adoption agency has approved and successfully placed children with gay and lesbian adopters, and we hope this year’s campaign will encourage more people to come forward.”

A new survey, conducted by UK adoption and fostering charity New Family Social, has highlighted the many strengths of gay and lesbian adopters and foster carers. It inspired the creation of LGB&T Adoption and Fostering Week.

The study shows lesbian and gay people often have the right mix of skills and experience to raise children who have been in care, and give them a great new start in life. Researchers found that 72% of social workers surveyed as part of the study saw the “amount of energy and enthusiasm” LGB&T adopters bring to the process as a significant strength. 76% saw “openness to difference, and supporting a child with a sense of difference” as equally important.

New Family Social, the only organisation working for LGB&T adopters, foster carers and their children throughout the UK and founders of this campaign believe that LGB&T people tended to be seen as a “last resort” when placing children. Now, adoption and fostering agencies see them as having a key role to play in meeting the urgent need for more new homes for children in care.

Andy Leary-May, director of New Family Social, said:

 “More and more LGB&T people are choosing adoption and fostering as a way to form a family, and we want prospective parents to see just how rewarding it can be, and how much advice and support is on offer from our huge community of families around the UK.

“The fact that so many agencies want to recruit from the LGB&T community show just how far things have come in the past 5 or 6 years. Social workers are becoming more aware of our strengths, and we are being treated more fairly, and are being matched with children more quickly.”

Hugh Thornbery, strategic director of children’s services at Action for Children, said:

"Over the years, our LGB&T foster carers and adopters have helped to transform many children’s lives. We welcome more applications from LGB&T foster carers and adopters; the main thing is that you are able to give children and young people the care and support they need to be happy and fulfilled.”

Suffolk’s fostering and adoption services’ is being held at the Holiday Inn Hotel, London Road, Ipswich on Wednesday 22 February, between 2pm – 8pm. At 3pm and 6.30pm, the event will also include talks from local LGB&T adopters about their own experiences and give those interested information on how to start the process.

Suffolk’s fostering and adoption services hold up 20 recruitment events each year promoting opportunities to adopt and foster children in Suffolk.

NFS is the UK charity working for LGB&T adoptive and foster families formed in 2007 and now boasts over 500 families on their membership. The organisation gives people the opportunity to share stories and support each other. There is also the chance to give adopted or foster children the confidence of knowing there are other families out there like theirs.

There are 16 regional groups that meet regularly around the UK and an online message forum to share advice and encouragement. As well as encouraging more LGB&T adopters and foster carers to come forward, NFS works to ensure they are assessed and matched fairly and effectively.

Same-sex couples have had the right to apply to adopt jointly since changes in the law same into effect in 2005 (England and Wales) and 2009 (Scotland).

To find out more about the Ipswich information event, visit: http://www.suffolk.gov.uk/CareAndHealth/FosteringAndAdoption/LGBTAdoptionAndFosteringWeek2012.htm

For details of the first ever LGB&T Adoption and Fostering Week and event updates, visit: www.lgbtadoptfosterweek.org.uk

To find out more about New Family Social visit: www.newfamilysocial.co.uk