Shining a light on LGBT fostering and adoption

Penshaw Monument lit up to support LGBT Adoption and Fostering week

Together for Children Sunderland and Sunderland City Council are working together to support LGBT Adoption and Fostering week which is taking place between 2- 8 March.

New Family Social, the UK network for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) adoptive and foster families has organised the national campaign to raise awareness of the need for more families for children in care and bust myths surrounding this.

Although same sex adoption was legalised in 2005, there are still many misconceptions around fostering and adoption among the LGBT+ community.

In 2019, the number of adoptions, in England, to LGBT+ individuals and couples rose to 490, which represented 1 in 7 adoptions, up from 1 in 20 adoptions in 2012, but there is still a need to encourage LGBT people to not rule themselves out.

Throughout the week several landmarks across the city will be lit up in an array of rainbow colours to shine a light on the issue of fostering and adoption among the LGBT+ community. The landmarks include; Keel Square, Penshaw Monument, Fullwell Mill, Northern Spire, and Cliffe Park Lighthouse.

It is hoped that the campaign focus and joint working will help to put the spotlight on the possibilities available to same sex couples looking for their own forever family and encourage more LGBT+ people in the region to explore their parenting options and talk to people who can guide them through the process.

Members of the public are being encouraged to share their pictures of local landmarks lit up on social media using #WhyNotYou to help share the message.

Together for Children Sunderland, which delivers children’s services on behalf of Sunderland City Council is looking for families from a range of backgrounds to provide children with loving and stable homes.

Jill Colbert, chief executive of Together for Children Sunderland, said: “We are proud to support this campaign and want to make people aware that we welcome people of all sexualities to become foster carers or adoptive parents. “When assessing prospective families, our priority is your ability to parent and to provide a stable and nurturing home environment.

“Children and young people waiting to be adopted or those who require foster care come from many different backgrounds and we need people from all walks of life to provide a loving family for them.

“The theme of this year’s campaign in ‘Why Not You?’ So, we’re asking you, could you foster or adopt a child in Sunderland? We have experience of placing children with LGBT+ adopters and often their children will grow up to be more tolerant of differences in others. We would encourage anyone interested in caring for a child whether short term or forever, to get in touch with us.”

Across the UK there is a need for more adopters and foster carers to look after children and young people, and it is thought that this shortfall could be met if just 2% of LGBT+ people choose to adopt or foster.

Jill added: “Many LGBT+ people will have experience of understanding their identity, this is something that some of our children and young people will resonate with, and being able to empathise with these young people is a brilliant skill to possess. Taking the first step towards fostering or adoption can be a daunting experience and, being a member of the LGBT+ community, you might think this could be a hurdle, but we will be there to support you from the beginning and advise you throughout the process.”

Together for Children welcomes interest in becoming a foster carer or adopter from any member of the LGBT+ community whether single or in a relationship.

To find out more information, you can arrange a one to one appointment through the service’s Facebook page, @TfCFosterAdopt. You can also attend a coffee and chat event at Costa Coffee, 2 Broadstairs Court, SR4 8NP on Saturday 21 March between 11am and 1pm.

To find out which landmarks will be lit up and when, visit the service on Facebook @TfCFosterAdopt.