Campaign aims to tackle LGBT+ foster carer myths

By Nina Jacobs

| 30 July 2019

A council has launched an awareness campaign to tackle myths around fostering to encourage more lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) people to consider becoming foster parents.

Research has shown LGBT+ couples are just as likely to improve fostered children's wellbeing as heterosexual couples. Picture: Scott Griessel/Adobe Stock

Stockport Council believes many LGBT+ people are deterred from applying to foster children and young people because of misperceptions that their sexuality or relationship status will be a barrier. 

The council has launched an awareness-raising drive to encourage more applications from LGBT+ people wanting to become foster parents.

Regular open evenings are held to provide information about fostering and enable applicants to meet local foster carers.

Councillor Colin Foster, cabinet member for children, family services and education, said: "We know from experience that LGBT+ people often come to fostering with an open mind and real enthusiasm, as their first choice for forming a family. 

"Many of our children have had a very traumatic start to life and we have seen them thrive with their new LGBT+ parents and we're keen to hear from anyone who is thinking of fostering."

Last month, the council held its annual Stockport Pride event which celebrates the LGBT+ community.

Foster carers James and Stephen, who attended the event, have been fostering teenagers and siblings for Stockport Council since 2015.

"We were uncertain about how being in a same-sex relationship would affect us becoming foster carers.

"However, the system doesn't discriminate and Stockport Council was very supportive.

"The young people we work with are totally appreciative of the help and care they get.

"Your age, gender, sexual orientation or marital status are not important - it's what you can offer a child that matters," said James.

Fosterline, a support organisation for prospective and existing foster carers, highlights a study carried out for the British Association for Adoption and Fostering by Cambridge University into same-sex couple adoptive families.

It suggests children adopted by LGBT+ couples are just as likely to improve their wellbeing and develop positive relationships as those adopted by heterosexual couples.

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