More foster carers and adopters are needed in Somerset to help transform the lives of children in care with a focus on finding gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender couples.
Although sexuality has never been a barrier to fostering and adoption, the Service believes the fear of prejudice has put people off enquiring
An information event took place recently where same sex couples who have adopted or fostered in Somerset were able to give a real insight into what it is really like for those that attended.
One such person who was at the event was Anna from Street, Anna has been fostering with her female partner for two years an in that time they have fostered four children from age 10 to 16.
Anna spoke about her experience of fostering: “I’d thought about fostering for many years and I made the decision to foster after meeting my partner who was already doing it. I decided to apply and I began the assessment process.
“I attended some training sessions that prepared me for fostering and helped me understand what children in care are often going through. In particular, the training gave me some really useful tools to help me work with the children to change their behaviour, tackle their insecurities and turn their lives round.
“When a child arrives in our home we always do our best to settle them in and set clear rules and boundaries – some of the children have never had any boundaries so this can take a while for them to get used to. We’ve had to be patient and use the tools we learnt in the training. Once the children start to change and grow and realise that we are trying to help them it is brilliant. It is the best thing in the world to see an insecure child grow into a confident and happy child that is fulfilling their life and reaching their potential.
“I encourage everyone to think about fostering. I was worried I would be excluded because of my sexuality but it has not been an issue at all and I am always surprised how well the children deal with it – they don’t bat an eyelid.”
Cllr Frances Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Children and Families at Somerset County Council, said: “We know that some of our current foster carers and adopters were put off or held back from making their initial enquiries because they were not sure if their sexuality would stop them from fostering or adopting. It goes without saying that all children need to be cared for and loved, so we need to make sure we actively encourage anyone who can offer that care and love to our most vulnerable children. I am proud to say that our doors are always open for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to explore the possibility of fostering and adoption. I would encourage as many people as possible to come along to the event or contact us to find out more.”
More information is available at www.fosteringinsomerset.org.ukor you can phone 0800 587 9900 for an information pack.
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