A whole host of events are being planned across the country this week, as organisations get ready for the country's first LGBT Adoption and Fostering Week.
For some years, LGBT families were considered a 'last resort' for placing children, but recent research has proven that lesbian and gay families can provide these children with a great new start. Individuals growing up with the social divide of being 'different', as many LGBT people still do, often develop a skill set which can be beneficial when bringing up a child who has been in care.
Hugh Thornbery, of Action for Children, says "Over the years, our LGBT foster carers and adopters have helped to transform many children's lives. We welcome more applications from LGBT foster carers and adopters; the main thing is [giving] children and young people the care and support they need to be happy and fulfilled."
In a survey conducted by organisers of the week, round three-quarters of social workers considered the "amount of energy and enthusiasm" LGBT adopters bring to the process to be a significant strength and agreed that "openness to difference, and supporting a child with a sense of difference" was equally important.
Andy Leary-May, Director of New Family Social, said, "The fact that so many agencies want to recruit from the LGBT community show just how far things have come in the past 5 or 6 years. Social workers are becoming more aware of our strengths, and we are being treated more fairly, and are being matched with children more quickly".
The LGBT Adoption and Fostering Week includes eighteen official events around the UK hosted by local adoption and fostering agencies, with the aim of getting more LGBT individuals to apply. As more LGBT families look to create families by adoption or fostering, the events aim to help prospective parents to see how much advice and support is on offer.
Attendees will hear talks from local LGBT adoptive and foster parents about their own experiences and be able to obtain information on how to start the process.
Click here to find an event near you. As well as the eighteen events on this list, there are others taking place independently – if you know of an event that's not on the main list, please comment to let our other readers know!