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  • 6 May 2020 10:54 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Adoption, Fostering & Tea - a new podcast by and for LGBT+ adopters and foster carers - is now available on streaming services and via New Family Social's website.

    You can listen to the first episode of the podcast - focusing on Jay and Thom's experiences of the early stages of the adoption process - in the player below.

    The podcast is brought to you by New Family Social - the UK's peer support network for LGBT+ adopters and foster carers - with kind support from Little Radio


  • 3 May 2020 14:07 | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Seeking out comforting words or just learning that someone else is going through the same things that you are can offer a release. It is a huge benefit of people being able to post their thoughts and experiences online.

    And whilst it is important, we always struggle to get people to share their little moments of happiness.  It might be getting through another virtual online meeting whilst your kids are fighting with each other in the next room.  It might be suddenly hearing a song that you used to love when you were 14 but have not heard for years.


    So we would like to throw open the metaphorical doors to you all to tell us about things that made you smile or make you go "yesssssss!"

    It's a tough time for lots of people all over the world. Parents with kids may feel particularly challenged and for parents with adopted or foster kids it can feel even more isolating.

    Take a breath, know that you are doing your best, and post something on our website to let the steam out.....

    For me, the following link almost exactly matches the thoughts in my head...

    Teachers ... We're sorry

    I'm happy to be judged....

  • 29 Apr 2020 15:20 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Which agencies have new subscriptions to New Family Social. If you think that you're now covered by a new agency get in touch and we can make you a Gold member for free.

    We're delighted to announce that the North London Fostering & Permanency Consortium and Carmarthen Council Fostering Team are now member agencies of New Family Social. Their LGBT+ foster carers can now apply for Gold memberships with us free-of-charge.

  • 17 Apr 2020 14:20 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    While the adoptions statistics in England are fantastic, it isn’t the first country in the UK to achieve 1 in 7 adoptions by same-sex couples in a year. In fact Wales achieved this impressive proportion in 2018, before falling slightly in 2019.

    Outside England, each country in the UK faces its own unique issues with recruiting LGBT+ adopters and foster carers. In some regions there is a cultural barrier that means few people consider adoption as an option. In others one half of the country may routinely recruit a diverse pool of adopters or foster carers, but the other half struggle to recruit any at all.

    For these reasons New Family Social is reorganising that way it approaches each country, so that our services can be better targeted to local need. In practice this means that instead of approaching Scotland and Wales as regions in their own right, each country will be split into north and south operations, making it easier for us to better reach our social worker colleagues in each country.

    This also means that we’re changing our approach in England, again adopting the government’s regional boundaries. In practice this means that while the number of regions in England diminishes, there’s an increase in the regions of operations in Wales and Scotland. For the time being Northern Ireland will remain one region until our expertise and adoption/fostering inclusion work develops in that country.

    These changes will take place in the second quarter of 2020, with work feverishly ongoing to make sure that our member agencies have the access they need to the new site to develop their work.

    Takeaway:

    • New Family Social is honing the way it works with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to improve its service delivery in each country, with the goal to see an increase in the number of LGBT+ people applying to adopt or foster in each.
    • Wales was first country in the UK to achieve 1 in 7 adoptions to same-sex couples in a year.
    • New regions follow government boundaries for our member agencies’ ease.


  • 17 Apr 2020 11:27 | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    27 Sep 2019 11:21 | NFS Staffer James Lawrence

    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.


  • 18 Mar 2020 19:50 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    What are the benefits of adoption / fostering – and which suits you best?  

    There’s no such thing as ’perfect parenting’, as different children need different parenting styles. You can parent your own forever family, the way that’s most appropriate and meets your family’s needs. Depending on your own life story, your parenting style may be completely differently to the way you were raised.

    This may challenge your extended family members, who are less aware of the needs of your child.  So long as you create a warm and loving attachment with your children, meet their basic needs, provide reassurance, comfort and security, then you are likely to build strong foundations for your attachment. 

    For looked after children, being linked with adoptive parents and foster carers, can offer long term stability. However, they may also experience feelings of grief when placements end and guilt if they have to be separated from their siblings. They may also feel guilty about feeling attached to parents and carers who aren’t their birth family.

    Prospective adopters can access a wealth of information of their child(ren’s) past medical and family history. Foster carers are rarely presented with such information from the outset and may only find out detailed information as the placement progresses. As an adopter or foster carer you may be able to bring your own life experiences into play, parenting the child(ren) as they grow up. However, no amount of paperwork can capture all of a child’s experiences and adopters and foster carers often work hard to help their children identify why certain things act as a trigger to their behaviours.

    The decision to adopt or foster is one that can’t be entered into lightly – adopters and foster cares play a key role in helping build the self-confidence and identity of vulnerable children and young people. In England one in seven adoptions in 2019 were to same-sex couples. Unfortunately there’s no comparable on the number of LGBT+ people who foster, although individual agencies may share their data when trying to encourage more LGBT+ people to apply.

    The key differences between adoption and fostering are that the former is not time limited and legal responsibility for the child completely passes over to you as the parent. Adoption leads to a withdrawal of social services from the child’s life, in terms of routine monitoring visits. Adoptive parents can make decisions about medical treatment and schooling without involving social services – unless they want to. Until the adoption order is finalised legal responsibility for the child is shared between social services and the adoptive parents.

    Fostering is a more flexible approach to building your family – as foster carers can choose to offer respite care or short-term placements – but it comes with less permanence and the possibility that the child may quickly return to their parents if their circumstances change. Legally, foster carers are responsible for meeting the needs of the child and are monitored and held accountable by the state. If you’re uncomfortable with the idea that while you can input into decisions for the child you care for, you may be overruled by social services then fostering may not be for you.

    In recent years a third model of family-building has developed – sometimes called ‘foster to adopt’ – where potential adopters act as foster carers to an infant in care who is likely to have adoption as their long-term care plan. Once adoption is decided by the courts as the appropriate care plan for the child the carers who were fostering to adopt can move to legally adopt the child.

    Ultimately, the choice between adoption, fostering and fostering to adopt is only one that you and your family can make. Once you’ve evaluated which journey best meets your needs we strongly advise talking to a number of different agencies – you all need to feel comfortable as you move forward and agencies can have a different tone and environment to them.


  • 18 Mar 2020 12:43 | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Factors to consider

    Everyone starting the adoption or fostering process will do so with some understandable preconceptions about what they hope their family will look like as a result. However, reality rarely matches fantasy and it’s worth considering a range of factors to help you become more pragmatic in the process.

    You may start the process hoping to be linked with a younger child. That’s not always the right choice for you or the child. Firstly the child’s medical history can be uncertain. Were they exposed to alcohol, drugs or smoking during pregnancy leading to developmental and behavioural problems later in life? Some of the issues that can occur as a result will only be known over time – which can be challenging for some adopters and foster carers to accommodate. Similarly, hereditary conditions, allergies or illnesses may not be immediately obvious, or known about by the birth parents or the child’s social worker.

    Prospective parents also need to balance their own ages compared to the child.  Can you realistically provide the physical support your child will need until they reach independence? Will you have sufficient emotional energy and stamina to guide them through puberty?

    With older children many issues will be identified as they grow up.  Most developmental delays will be known, any pregnancy, allergy and illnesses should have been identified too. However, older children may struggle to quickly develop a shared language and understanding of family norms as they are likely to have experienced a number of households with different routines.

    Sadly most looked after children experience trauma or neglect with their birth parents. This will instinctively guide many of their interactions with you in the early days. For example, they may struggle to express themselves verbally and lash out or seem to overreact to the slightest stimulation. Whether you adopt or foster a younger or older child the early days of your placement are key to developing trust and a healthy attachment with the child. Regardless of age, the child’s behaviour may be an effort by them to move your parenting to an environment they recognise and derive comfort from – even if it’s not a healthy situation for them.

    Ultimately your social worker will help you identify the best age range you should consider as a potential adopter or foster carer. In some instances their opinion and your hopes will match. In other cases your particular experiences may be better suited to a child or sibling group you’ve not considered. The more you’re able to be flexible in your approach and open to feedback the more likely you’ll identify a successful match.

    Snapshot research with LGBT+ adopters shows that they are more likely to consider adopting children often viewed as ‘harder to place’; such as those who are older, or who are in a sibling group or who have additional needs. The more pragmatic about the needs you and your family can meet – and those you can’t – the easier locating a suitable match becomes.

    Takeaway:
    • Most adopters and foster carers consider children in age ranges rather than having a fixed age they want to parent
    • Balance your age to that of a child. Will you have the stamina and emotional energy to support them through puberty?
    • Medical and developmental issues are more likely to be known if you parent an older child
    • The more you're open to consider ‘harder-to-place’ children, the more you increase your likelihood of finding a match more quickly


  • 17 Mar 2020 14:52 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    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.


    Takeaway

    • 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.


  • 9 Jan 2020 15:29 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Grey skies, rain and a bit more rain. Spring is here, so let's brighten things up.


    So now is the time to get all of the colouring pens / crayons / pencils out of the box or drawers and set the kids a challenge.

    We are starting a regular art competition, open to all of our member's kids. 

    As it's been a bit grey, the theme, by popular demand (well at least around the coffee machine) is  COLOUR.

    We want to see the most amazing drawings or paintings using as much colour as possible.  

    TERMS AND CONDITIONS

    1. By entering the competition, parents and guardians confirm that they have read and understood, and agree to be bound by, the following competition rules

    2. The competition is open to all children (placed, adopted, fostered) of registered members of New Family Social.

    3. Entries must be delivered via email.

    4.The winner(s) will be announced on our website, but we will be sensitive to how the name of the winner is announced.  For example, you can state that you prefer just initials and the town or county.

    5. Entry to the competition is free, however, all materials for the creation and submission of artwork must be provided by the school or individual. 6.All artwork must be the original idea of the entrant and not infringe on anyone else’s copyright.

    7. Entries must be received no later than 4.00pm on Friday 22nd June 2020

    8. The children must have fun producing the artwork. 9. Individual entries –please ensure your child's name, age, address and contact telephone number are marked clearly in the email. We are only able to accept one submission per child

    11.The winners of the competition shall be decided by the staff of New Family Social

    12. By entering the competition, children and their parents/guardians give their consent to New Family Social to use their work, free of charge, in any publicity and/or promotional activities.

    15. No cash alternative to any prize is available and the prizes shall be non-transferable.

    16. The Trust is not responsible for late, lost or delayed entries.

    17.The decision of the judging panel is final and binding on all entrants and no correspondence will be entered into.

  • 7 Jan 2020 13:34 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    March is soon upon is and our LGBT+ adoption and fostering week is being planed.  Here's what we are doing for 2020 and why. LGBT+ adopters and foster carers are making real differences to children's lives. We here about some wonderful stories. Let us share the latest one with you.




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