T hree in four LGBT people going through the adoption process actively consider adopting siblings, according to new research by New Family Social. However, the majority are matched with a single child first or are told no suitable match is available.

The report Strength in Numbers: LGBT people on adopting siblings recommends that when approved LGBT adopters express an interest in adopting a sibling group this should be the first focus of family-finding for these adopters. That would help brothers and sisters to stay together or wait less time to find an adoptive family.

More than half of the children waiting for adoption are in a sibling group and wait longer than other children.

Four in ten LGBT adopters surveyed said their biggest concern around adopting more than one child was about meeting all of the siblings’ needs.

This was followed by getting the support they needed as parents (18 per cent) or worries about being able to afford it (16 per cent). One respondent noted: ‘Support from placing authorities is grossly inadequate’.

Some LGBT adopters spoke of how well family life was going, but others said dealing with siblings competing for their attention or managing the relationship between the children can be hard.

Worryingly, while many LGBT adopters had positive experiences of the adoption process, Strength in Numbers also outlines some alarming – if isolated – incidents of discrimination.

The report reminds adoption agencies they can face costly court cases for breaking equality law and calls on them to tackle every instance of unlawful LGBT discrimination in their working practices or staff behaviour.

Tor Docherty, New Family Social Chief Executive, said: ‘Adopters willing and able to parent sibling groups are a precious resource, but many LGBT people keen to do so are being matched with single children first. This fails those vulnerable children in sibling groups, as they wait unnecessarily for a match and are often then split up to make quicker matches with different families. 1 in 12 adoptions in England are now to same-sex couples, but even more children could find the home they need if sibling groups are treated as a priority for all approved adopters seeking to adopt them.’

Strength in Numbers: LGBT people on Adopting Siblings can be downloaded from www.newfamilysocial.org.uk

Natalie has been an LGBT journalist for 12 years and joined the Fyne team in 2001. Her interests outside of work are cycling, running and badminton. She is also studying for a degree in psychology.

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