Foster carers play a vital role in supporting looked-after children, but they can be overlooked with the focus often on adoption services. However, with some 78,150 children being looked-after in England alone there’s desperate need for more people to consider fostering.
New Family Social is working hard to encourage more LGBT+ people to explore this parenting route. The charity now counts many foster care agencies among its organisational members, most recently including the National Fostering Group –a close knit collection of 14 independent fostering agencies.
As part of New Family Social’s drive to improve the number of LGBT+ foster carers the charity’s also calling on foster member agencies to make sure that all of their existing foster carers can access the charity’s services for free. While new recruits may be aware of this offer, long-standing foster carers may not be.
Unfortunately as there’s no national data collection of the sexual orientation or gender identity of existing foster carers there’s no evidence base to encourage more LGBT+ to explore fostering. New Family Social strongly recommends that member agencies collate this information for themselves, to bolster their recruitment efforts.
- Fostering agencies increasingly join New Family Social to provide dedicated support for their LGBT+ carers.
- Long-standing LGBT+ carers and new recruits should be made aware of the services that they can access free of charge through their agency’s membership of New Family Social.
- It’s strongly recommended that fostering agencies capture sexual orientation and gender identity information anonymously from their foster carers. It can be used as a benchmark to help in recruitment efforts and to track the efficacy of campaigns.