What are the first steps?
You can make enquiries to an adoption or fostering agency at any time without obligation. If you’ve carried out some initial research you’ll be better prepared for your first conversation.
We suggest that you:
- Read a range of online resources, starting with the CoramBAAF website
- Talk to some adopters or foster carers in your area. If you join NFS you can find your nearest LGBT adopters or foster carers
- Select a number of local agencies to call from our agency finder. They’re all committed to welcoming LGBT applicants.
- Consider attending a local information event. These will give you a sense of the process you’ll go through and the opportunity to interact with a potential agency – without the focus being on you.
Although agencies all work to the same guidelines, in practice they can be very different in their process, their efficiency, and their attitude to LGBT applicants. The biggest variation is often between individual social workers, so try not to be put off if your first phone call is answered by someone who is less than welcoming.
You don’t have to use your own local authority as your assessing agency; any agency within a reasonable travelling distance of your home may be willing to assess you. An agency may have specific recruitment criteria, such as only looking for people willing to be placed with a sibling group.
When you make your first enquiry your sexual orientation or gender identity shouldn’t count against you – if it seems to, it may not be the agency for you. Shopping around for the right agency is a very good idea.
Do call an agency rather than making an online enquiry – in our experience this results in a quicker response. Following your enquiry you should be sent some introductory information, and may be invited to an information event in order to find out more.
If the agency feels they may be willing to offer you an assessment the next step is usually an initial interview, where one or two social workers will spend around two hours getting to know you either at your home, or at the agency’s offices.
The agency may then formally offer you an assessment. If you have reached this point with more than one agency, you will have the advantage of being able to choose the one which you feel is the best “fit” for you.