Research suggests that a third of LGBTQ+ people believe that they will face barriers to becoming a foster carer as a result of homophobia. Due to the adversity that members of this community have historically faced, it is no surprise that those hoping to foster are often concerned that their sexuality will impact their eligibility.
At CFS Fostering, we would like to stress that this is not the case. Any couple who can genuinely transform the life of a child is welcome within our organisation.
Actually, there are many significant benefits to the increase in LGBTQ+ carers – namely that they hold perspectives (and experiences) which could resonate with a child who would not otherwise feel comfortable discussing related issues. It is this unique perspective that is so valuable.
Unfortunately, there are still LGBTQ+ couples who believe they are less likely to be approved as foster carers due to the lingering perception of what foster carers should look like. To help alleviate any such concerns, here we discuss the strengths of LGBTQ+ carers and how they can be applied.
While we have previously covered the role that religion plays in the sector [LINK > What Role Does Religion Play In Fostering?], LGBTQ+ fostering is another area that has received sensationalist news coverage. Yet there is no research to suggest that there is a negative impact on children in the care of LGBTQ+ couples (or single parents). In fact, there is a growing argument that LGBTQ+ carers have an insight into the lives of non-binary or queer children.
Same-sex foster carers have a more comprehensive understanding of the emotions that LGBTQ+ children are dealing with while going through maturity. Knowing the pressures of conformity, LGBTQ+ carers are able to build trust with the foster child and could even provide a more stable, loving home environment than carers that have not experienced a same-sex relationship.
One such example of this unique perspective is the more nuanced and considered approach to transgender young people. More and more children are identifying as transgender, and this is proving a confusing issue for parents and foster carers as gender dysphoria (when an individual identifies as a separate gender to the one assigned to them at birth) are widely misunderstood. As a society, we are still in the process of putting the necessary support in place for these individuals so that they do not feel isolated from the wider community.
LGBTQ+ carers understand the adversity of everyday life as a non-binary or queer person. The rise of LGBTQ+ carers is a direct reflection of the understanding that, in order to cater for young people with a wide range of backgrounds, local authorities and agencies have had to recruit foster carers who echo that same diversity.
Proven to be equally beneficial as heterosexual carers
As an LGBTQ+ person, you are entitled to apply to foster under the Equality Act 2010, though we understand this does not always inspire confidence. Therefore it might provide some reassurance to know that, according to research conducted by Cambridge University’s Centre for Family Research, same-sex placements are thriving.
In fact, LGBTQ+ placements scored higher in areas of family relationships, parental wellbeing and child adjustment. There is even an argument to suggest that, by presenting children with the realities of modern relationships, they are more likely to be open-minded and tolerant individuals later in life.
What is important is that a young person is given a nurturing environment where they are cared for and supported. That does not require a specific form of household, just foster carers who are committed to the wellbeing of the child.
This extends to single foster carers as well [LINK > Am I Able To Foster As A Single Parent?]. In the earlier stages of the fostering process, we will conduct interviews and a home assessment which is just as thorough as it is for those who are in a relationship – heterosexual or otherwise.
Where we can support you:
At CFS Fostering, we support all our carers by providing ongoing support and guidance delivered by in-house experts. All our foster carers have access to therapists, psychologists, and health and wellbeing specialists. Should you experience any challenging behaviour and are unsure who to contact, your caseworker will be able to highlight your options.
We believe in sustainable placements above all else. Our team recognise that LGBTQ+ households offer the same stability as heterosexual ones, so if you would be interested in providing a home where children can flourish, get in touch.
If you feel that CFS Fostering are the agency to support you in changing a child’s life for the better, please get in touch with our expert team today on 01204 704777 or on firstname.lastname@example.org.