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How we’re busting the myths of foster care and encouraging more inclusivity

One of the biggest myths of foster care is that young people can only be placed in a ‘nuclear family’ – such as with a married couple – but, in fact, children in care come from a diverse array of backgrounds and experiences, and the most important thing is that they experience a safe and stable home.

We at The Fostering Foundation already have experienced, same sex couples, who are providing children with wonderful home from home experiences and are proud of the fact that we believe that your ability to care for a child in need is what’s important, and that your sexual orientation, gender or marital status should never be a barrier to entry.

We welcome and encourage people from the LGTBQ+ community, as well as single people and those with disabilities to find out more about how foster care could work for them. Here are just some of the common myths – busted.

There are now a record number of LGBTQ+ adopters in the UK, with same-sex couples making up 1 in 12 adoptive parents. This is a positive step, but it’s true that the same trend cannot however be said of fostering. With a five-year deficit of 25,000 homes needed in the UK alone, considering foster care could make an enormous difference in a child’s life.

At the Fostering Foundation, we can assure you that sexual orientation and gender are never barriers to application with us. We believe the most important thing for any child in care is to have a safe, stable home, and our specialised therapeutic training helps to prepare our carers for fostering.

Additionally, LGBTQ+ children are statistically overrepresented in the care system, and studies suggest that experiencing positive role models they can identify with can be a huge help in their future. Are you that role model?

Single fostering
It is a very common myth that foster carers should be a couple but, in fact, we invite single women and men to become foster carers. As long as you are over the age of 21, have a spare room, and can prove you work flexibly or from home, your marital status has no bearing on your ability to provide a safe and supportive home.

Likewise, you are never too old to foster, and if your own children have flown the nest there are types of foster care – such as parent and child fostering – that focuses on short term placements that teach vital parenting skills to young people.

Fostering with a disability or illness
We will never refuse an application from a prospective foster parent based on a disability or illness, however we will need to discuss your wellness carefully to ensure we can support you in your journey.

Just as we work carefully to place children with disabilities and complex needs with the right foster carers, we work just as closely with our foster carers to ensure they are fully supported in caring for young people.

While it’s true that some health issues and disabilities may prevent you from taking on certain types of foster care, for instance if your health needs and the needs of the child cannot both be met, the determining factor to any placement is whether you can physically and emotionally look after the child in your care – and we at The Fostering Foundation are here to help all of our carers do exactly that.

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