More carers are needed, but how can we inspire more LGBT+ people to foster when we don’t know how many already do so?
Statistics and monitoring matter at a time when there’s an urgent and desperate need for more foster carers across the UK. The Fostering Network estimates that a further 8,600 foster families are needed in the next 12 months alone.
LGBT+ people form an essential pool of potential applicants. Same-sex couples now account for 1 in 7 adoptions in England. It’s no coincidence that as each data release shows an increase of LGBT+ people adopting, the number grows the following year as more LGBT+ people are inspired to find out more.
But there’s a lingering expectation of discrimination among LGBT+ people when it comes to fostering. YouGov polling shows that 8 in 10 lesbian, gay and bisexual people expect to encounter barriers to become foster carers because of their sexual orientation. Despite hard work by some foster agencies to engage more LGBT+ people with fostering, this is hampered by an ongoing absence of data about how many successfully do so. There’s no national picture to describe, no dataset published. With no data to help inspire LGBT+ people to consider fostering, the best efforts of any agency trying to engage LGBT+ potential carers are seriously hampered.
New Family Social remains committed to working with foster care agencies, national fostering bodies and the government to improve the data collation and publication of LGBT+ engagement with fostering.