Council calls for more gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender adopters
Bristol City Council and North Somerset Council are to join forces to recruit lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adopters and foster carers for LGBT Adoption and Fostering Week.
A joint information event is taking place in Bristol on Thursday, with talks from local LGBT adoptive and foster parents about their own experiences and to give those interested information on how to start the process.
Events are being organised across the UK as part of the country’s second LGBT Adoption and Fostering Week. It comes as gay adopters and foster carers are being hailed by social workers for their significant strengths in a survey commissioned by New Family Social, the LGBT network coordinating the week.
In Bristol there is a particular drive this year to find more people to adopt, with currently 50 children waiting for the right parents to adopt them.
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Bristol City Council cabinet member for Children and Young People, councillor Alastair Watson said: “Fostering or adopting a child offers them a new start in life in a caring and stable environment. We urgently need more people to consider fostering or adoption and are keen to encourage people from a range of backgrounds to take this step.
“I am very pleased that Bristol City Council is ranked highly by Stonewall in their list of good employers, and that we reflect this in our services to children. I hope this event is successful in recruiting new carers from the LGBT community.”
Emma Simpson, adoption team manager for North Somerset Council, said: “We have been successfully assessing and supporting a number of gay adopters over the last few years. We look forward to welcoming and working with more LGBT adopters, so please get in touch. We want to support you to extend your family and help a child have a permanent loving home.”
For a long time, LGBT 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 parents and carers for children in care.
It’s estimated nationally that 4,000 children need adopting every year, and an additional 9,000 foster carers must be found. The councils believe that if two per cent of LGBT people came forward to foster or adopt, they could meet the shortfall of homes needed for children currently in care.
Director of New Family Social Andy Leary-May said: “More and more LGBT 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.
“Some people are still put off by fears that they won’t be welcomed by agencies, but things are changing. In our group we have huge and diverse range of families, including plenty of parents who are single, or in their fifties. It’s clear to see how well our children are doing, and what a positive and rewarding choice fostering and adoption can be.”
For more information about adoption or fostering, contact North Somerset Council on 01275 888 999 or Bristol City Council on 0117 353 4200.