Across Britain, we need more foster carers to offer different fostering placement types. It is not what you are, but who you are that counts. LGBT adoptions are increasing, and now there are signs that LGBT fostering is too. But what is it that you need to know?
Since the barriers to fostering and adoption have been removed, the rates of adoption by LGBT parents has mushroomed. Several years on, there is evidence to back up what we already knew: children will and do thrive with same-sex parents.
Likewise, the openness of LGBT foster carers to empathise with foster children show strength, something that many social workers believe has been key in many successful foster placements.
But here’s the most startling fact from New Family Social, the UK network for LGBT foster and adoptive parents:
if just 1% of the LGBT population were to adopt or foster, there would be no children in care waiting for a home.
Barriers, Myths and Issues of LGBT Fostering
However, there are still myths that circulate around LGBT fostering. But what is the truth about LGBT fostering?
#1 A third of the LGBT people still believe they are not eligible to foster
The legal barrier preventing LGBT fostering was removed in 2002 as a result of the Adoption and Children Act.
Since then, same-sex adoptions have been increasing, although definitive figures on LGBT foster carers are not as readily available as LGBT adoptions.
With the realisation that LGBT adoption is working for the children involved, there is no doubt that LGBT fostering is catching up too.
#2 “It’s not fair to the foster child”
This again is a common argument many people fall back on in their attempt to convince others that LGBT foster will be problematic.
But there isn’t a problem. In fact, foster children raised by same-sex couples or single people are no more prone to being bullied for it than a child living with a heterosexual couple.
LGBT foster carers have so much to give, and for a child in need of a family and a safe home, they offer exactly what they need – and more.
#3 LGBT foster carers may not be able to provide stable homes
Far from it!
Studies by Cambridge University’s Centre for Family Research back in 2014 suggested that children living with LGBT parents are family units that are thriving.
Several years on from this study, there is no evidence to suggest that LGBT fostering placements are more prone to breaking down than any other.
In fact, studies of LGBT families have found that they scored highly on family relationships and parental well-being. There was also evidence to suggest that children in their care adjusted quickly to having two foster dads, or two foster mums or a bi-sexual foster carer.
It seems to the child – as it does to us – that it is more about who the person is and their personal qualities, than their sexuality and preferences.
#4 Growing up with LGBT foster carers means the child will be LGBT
There is no correlation between living with LGBT foster carers and a child’s sexuality.
If anything, a child fostered by an LGBT carer or carers is more likely to tolerant and welcoming of diversity.
#5 Children, especially traumatized foster children, need ‘Mum and Dad’
For centuries, there has been a mistaken belief that in order for a child to thrive, they need Mum and Dad.
What we do know is that a child, fostered or not, needs a safe, nurturing, supportive environment in which they are loved, cared and valued.
Who that comes from – male, female or a non-binary person – seems to be of little consequence. A child thrives in a loving environment whether it is delivered by foster mum and dad, two foster dads or a gay foster mum.
These are all myths. LGBT foster carers are making a difference but we need more foster carers to care for and love foster children.
Every child deserves a safe and nurturing home and you could be the person that makes the difference. Contact Foster Care Associates for more information on becoming a foster carer.
Read More: 101 Best Smile Quotes to Keep You Going