Foster Care Associates (FCA) is calling for more gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender singles and couples in the UK to consider fostering. The step comes to reinforce the positive contribution LGBT foster carers make to helping children and young people.
A report by the Rees Centre, a University of Oxford education department, which specialises in research into fostering and education, has revealed that many LGBT foster carers express concern about how agencies, social workers and foster children might respond to their gender and sexuality.
FCA has built a reputation as one of the leaders in championing and supporting LGBT foster carers for more than 15 years.
They were one of the first independent fostering agencies to offer LGBT diversity training for all their carers and staff, and 2015 marks five consecutive years of being recognised in the Stonewall Top 100 employer’s listings as one of the UK’s most gay friendly organisations.
Crystal is an FCA foster carer, with her partner Katie. She said:
“As foster carers we aim to provide a safe and happy home environment for foster children and it is that level of stability which is so important to a child’s wellbeing. Being a foster carer isn’t always easy but when you see a child grow and improve at something you have helped them with, it makes all the hard work worthwhile. Teaching a child right from wrong is one part of our role and when you actually begin to see them listen and act upon your advice, you feel you have made positive strides forward.”
David Oldham, chief executive of FCA, said:
“We have some amazing foster carers, and from the outset we only recruit people from across the spectrum who are open to diversity. We’re committed to developing a cohort of supportive carers, both for each other and the children they looked after. Our underlying message is that fostering is open to everyone and it’s up to FCA to provide a safe and welcoming community to support and develop our carers from the assessment process through to placement.”
Approximately only 2% of FCA’s 2000 carers are LGBT, a percentage that the agency aims to increase partly through regular visibility at LGBT events across the country as well specific information and recruitment events to communicate that fostering is an incredibly rewarding life choice which is open to everyone.
For more information on becoming a foster carer with the FCA, call 0800 023 4561 or visit www.thefca.co.uk