Members of Bristol’s LGBT community are being asked by Bristol City Council to consider if they could provide loving, stable homes for children in care.
A free information event is being hosted by the council’s fostering team on Wednesday 6 March to mark Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Adoption and Fostering Week. The event will be held between 6:30pm and 7:30pm at the Kitchen Café, The Station, and will give potential foster carers the chance to hear more about the process of becoming a carer, and to talk to local LGBT foster carers.
Cllr Helen Godwin, Cabinet member for Women, Children and Families said: “We know from experience that LGBT people often come to adoption and fostering with an open mind and real enthusiasm. Approximately 10% of adopters in Bristol identify as LGBT but only 2% of our foster carers do, so we want to get the message out that fostering can also be a long term option and way of creating a stable family life. Many school age children find their permanent home with foster carers who then go onto becoming their legal parents through Special Guardianship Orders.
“Your age, gender, sexual orientation or marital status are not important – it’s what you can offer a child that counts. We need people with stability, love and resourcefulness who can help a child with whatever needs they may have. Many children waiting to be fostered have had a very chaotic start to life, and we’ve seen them thrive with their new carers.”
Mary, a Bristol City Council foster carer, said: "I can't pretend I wasn't nervous when applying to be a foster carer when I told my assessing social worker that I only date women and despite my name I identify as male. But she didn't bat an eyelid. It was about as interesting as my shoe size. I was respected and asked if I were to be approved how I wanted to be known both to social workers and other staff and to the kids themselves. No issues at all.
"In short I can be me and look after kids in care the same as any other foster carer. I'm supported too; my social worker doesn't care that I'm trans male and neither do the children - as long as there is pizza for tea."
Now in its eigth year, LGBT Adoption & Fostering Week is organised by New Family Social, a charity that supports LGBT adopters and foster carers across the UK.
Tor Docherty, New Family Social’s Chief Executive, said: “Record numbers of LGBT people now adopt or foster. But YouGov polling shows many believe they’ll be discriminated against by agencies, with eight in ten lesbian, gay and bisexual people expecting to face barriers if they apply to become foster parents. We’re delighted that Bristol City Council is supporting the week and trying to encourage more LGBT people to explore fostering.”
You can find out more about Wednesday’s event here https://www.bristol.gov.uk/web/foster-with-bristol-city-council/support/fostering-events