To mark National LGBT Adoption and Fostering Week (3-9 March) Somerset County Council is holding an information event on Tuesday 4 March at the Holiday Inn Express in Taunton.
The drop in information event will take place from 7-9pm in the evening and a presentation will be given by Somerset’s Adoption and Fostering Manager, Nicky Hale, at around 7.30pm. Social workers will be on hand to answer questions and there will be an opportunity to speak to local foster carers and adopters to get an insight into what it is really like.
Although sexuality has never been a barrier to fostering and adoption, the Service believes the fear of prejudice has put people off enquiring in the past. National LGBT Adoption and Fostering Week (3-9 March) is a perfect opportunity to increase awareness that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people can adopt and foster and encourage them to do so.
Cllr Frances Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Children and Families at Somerset County Council, said: “We know that some of our current foster carers and adopters were put off or held back from making their initial enquiries because they were not sure if their sexuality would stop them from fostering or adopting. It goes without saying that all children need to be cared for and loved, so we need to make sure we actively encourage anyone who can offer that care and love to our most vulnerable children. I am proud to say that our doors are always open for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to explore the possibility of fostering and adoption. I would encourage as many people as possible to come along to the event or contact us to find out more.”
Anna has been fostering with her female partner for two years. In that time they have fostered four children from age 10 to 16.
Anna spoke about her experience of fostering: “I’d thought about fostering for many years and I made the decision to foster after meeting my partner who was already doing it. I decided to apply and I began the assessment process.
“I attended some training sessions that prepared me for fostering and helped me understand what children in care are often going through. In particular, the training gave me some really useful tools to help me work with the children to change their behaviour, tackle their insecurities and turn their lives round.
“When a child arrives in our home we always do our best to settle them in and set clear rules and boundaries – some of the children have never had any boundaries so this can take a while for them to get used to. We’ve had to be patient and use the tools we learnt in the training. Once the children start to change and grow and realise that we are trying to help them it is brilliant. It is the best thing in the world to see an insecure child grow into a confident and happy child that is fulfilling their life and reaching their potential.
“I encourage everyone to think about fostering. I was worried I would be excluded because of my sexuality but it has not been an issue at all and I am always surprised how well the children deal with it – they don’t bat an eyelid.”
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