|Call for LGBT people in Wigan Borough to foster or adopt
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Adoption and Fostering Week kicks off this week (3rd - 9th March) with the aim of encouraging more LGBT people to consider giving a child a loving family.
With a desperate shortage of adopters and foster carers across the UK, leading charities believe the shortfall could be met if just two per cent of LGBT people choose to adopt or foster.
Wigan Council is urging prospective parents to come forward and learn more about the options available to suit their needs.
Same-sex couples have had the right to apply to adopt jointly since changes in the law came into effect in 2005 (England and Wales) and 2009 (Scotland), but despite this one in three LGBT people still believe they can’t foster or adopt and are often concerned about how their sexuality or gender identity might impact them or the child.
Thirty-five-year-old Paul from Wigan was one of those people. Before he started fostering he was worried that the children he cared for might struggle with comments from other children or adults. He also worried that social workers might not want to place children with him. Six years on, Paul has fostered seven children. He said: “Fostering has been fantastic; I have had no issues because of my sexuality, with the children, social workers or the children’s parents. What foster children need is a stable loving home with someone to listen and care for them. If you are gay and interested in fostering then you will have a warm welcome from Wigan Fostering Service - I have.”
Like Paul, Sue and Nicola from Leigh, who have been in a relationship for eight years, were worried that their sexuality might prevent them from fostering, but four years on and they’ve fostered five children and couldn’t be happier. Sue said: “If you are a lesbian couple and interested in fostering then don’t hesitate to apply. The assessment is thorough but it needs to be as it is important your assessor gets to know you really well so they can match the right children with you. You also can attend a lot of training which helps you understand the children and the issues they bring with them.”
Councillor Susan Loudon, cabinet member for children and families at Wigan Council, said: “Over the last year we’ve been working hard to remove some of the myths associated with fostering and adoption. It doesn’t matter what your sexuality or gender is the most important thing is giving children, who have often had traumatic starts to their lives, loving families. We need people with stability, love and resourcefulness who can help a child with whatever needs they may have.”
If like Paul or Sue and Nicola you have space in your home and heart to foster, call the fostering team on 01942 487203 or visit www.wigan.gov.uk/fostering
For more information about adoption please call 01942 487272 to speak to a member of the team or visit www.wwish.org.uk