Take Pride in Caring

Published: 01 Mar 2018

To mark LGBT Adoption & Fostering Week (5 -11 March), Hertfordshire County Council is asking members of the LGBT community if they can make a difference to the lives of looked after children in the county by giving them a loving and secure home, either through fostering or adoption.

There are over 900 children and young people in care in the county and many live with Hertfordshire’s foster carers.  Similarly, there are a number of children who need permanent homes through adoption.

Many people feel their gender identity or sexuality could present a barrier to them becoming foster carers or adopters. However, as many of our LGBT foster carers and adopters will tell you, these barriers are often perceived and not real.

Rona Howard is a transgender foster carer from Hemel Hempstead with over 15 years’ experience.  She currently cares for two teenage girls and recommends fostering, saying, “Don’t be afraid to ask questions. In all my 15 years, I have never had any bad personal experiences, only support. The modern teenager is so open, able to accept and work things out for themselves.  I would highly recommend fostering to others in the LGBT community. If you don’t try, you’ll never know. It’s changed me. I hope it’s made me a better person. I now have so many friends and so many wonderful experiences.”

Each month, we receive an average of 55 requests for new foster placements.  The majority of these are needed for children over the age of 10 years, sibling groups and those with more complex needs.  Foster carers are needed to provide both short-term and long-term care.  In addition, adopters are also needed for children, particularly those who are able to care for sibling groups, children over the age of 4 years and younger children with complex health needs or developmental uncertainty.

Teresa Heritage, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “Anyone, who can provide a loving, nurturing and secure environment for children to grow and thrive, can apply to be a foster carer or adopter.

We know from experience that LGBT potential parents or carers are enthusiastic about considering if they can add to their family by choosing to adopt or foster a child in need. As a local authority, we encourage people from all backgrounds and communities to foster with us and we are urging our local LGBT community to come and speak to us about the options available.”

LGBT Adoption & Fostering Week is organised by New Family Social, a charity that supports LGBT adopters and foster carers across the UK.

Tor Docherty, chief executive of New Family Social, said “1 in 10 adoptions in 2017 were to same-sex couples in England.  Adoption and foster care agencies are extremely keen to talk with LGBT people who could either adopt or foster. If you’re LGBT and think adoption or fostering may be for you, there’s never been a better time to find out more.”

Anyone who fosters or adopts with Hertfordshire County Council can expect unrivalled support through the process, every step of the way. For more information visit www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/fostering or www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/adoption.  Alternatively, call our friendly recruitment team on 0800 917 0925 to find out more.