Bridgend County Borough Council is once again supporting LGBT+ Adoption and Fostering Week 2021 by encouraging members of the local community who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other gender expressions (LGBT+) to consider adopting or fostering children in the county borough.
LGBT+ Adoption and Fostering Week 2021 kicks off today, Monday 1 March and runs until Sunday 7 March.
The campaign, led by UK charity, New Family Social, works with adoption and fostering teams and LGBT+ people who are interested in exploring these routes to parenting.
The charity have said that there is still a desperate need across Wales for more LGBT+ people to adopt and foster. In Wales in 2021 some 80,000 vulnerable children were in care. Some LGBT+ people believe their sexual orientation or gender identity will prevent them adopting or fostering.
This year’s theme, ‘Build your family’ aims to tackle some of the myths around adoption and fostering for LGBT+ people and is dedicated to explaining different parts of the assessment and approval process.
One couple who has recently started their fostering journey with Bridgend Foster Care is Laura Evans and Nikki Blackman.
Laura and Nikki are both primary school teachers and met in 2014 when they worked together at the same school. Their relationship blossomed and a year later they bought their first home and then started to explore different options regarding children.
Laura said: “We decided that fostering was the best choice for us, since we couldn’t have a child which was genetically both of ours, why not care for children who need it?
“The application process went really smoothly,” said Nikki. “Unfortunately the pandemic began shortly after we started the process so we only met our social worker in person once. But our relationship is still strong and we’ve adapted to using digital methods of communication and training.
“The support from Bridgend Foster Care has been great and our social worker remains with us today. She has been very supportive throughout the process and guided us through the assessment. We also receive ongoing training so we can develop professionally as foster carers.”
When asked why they decided to foster, the couple said: “To make a difference in a child’s life. Some people don’t have children of their own but feel they have time, patience, warmth and love to give to a young person who cannot live with their own families.”
The Cabinet Member for Social Services and Early Help, Cllr Nicole Burnett, said: “With many children in the county borough in need of a stable and loving home, the council is keen to encourage other potential LGBT+ foster carers and adopters to come forward.
“You do not need to be married or in a relationship to foster and your sexual orientation does not make a difference to becoming a foster carer either. All you need is patience, understanding and a genuine commitment to helping a young person at a difficult time in their lives.
“The advantage of being part of Bridgend Foster Care is you keep local children in the county borough, close to their school and friends. If you believe you can offer a safe and loving environment for a child – then we encourage you get in touch with us and start your fostering journey.”
Bridgend Foster Care and Western Bay Adoption Service both provide extensive information about who can adopt and foster as well as explaining more about the assessment and approval process of adopting and fostering in the county borough.
For both potential adopters and foster carers, there are very few restrictions, you must be over the age of 21, have a spare room in your home, not have any cautions or convictions against children and have a commitment to keeping children and young people safe.
For further information on fostering in Bridgend County Borough, contact Bridgend Foster Care on 01656 642674 or visit: www.bridgend.gov.uk/fostering
For adoption enquiries, please contact Western Bay Adoption Service on 0300 365 2222 or visit: www.westernbayadoption.org.