new family social

Ahead of LGBT Adoption and Fostering Week (5-11 March) we talk to the New Family Social’s James Lawrence – himself an LGBT adoptive parent – about NFS’s role and those who are still against members of the LGBT community becoming parents.

So New Family Social is the go-to for LGBT people wanting to adopt or foster?

We are the charity in the UK for LGBT adopters and foster carers. We support LGBT people who are either looking into adopting or fostering, or the families once they are adopting or fostering. We don’t get involved with the placement of children, we don’t have any say over the process; we’re purely a support network for people.

© Susannah Hines

© Susannah Hines

Do LGBT people approach you directly, or are you contacted by agencies on their behalf?

It can be either. Some LGBT people will come across our services and then become limited members, and have basic access to the services we offer. Or they might go and talk to various different agencies about adopting or fostering. A number of agencies belong to New Family Social as members, and by the agency being a member, that then allows their LGBT adopters and foster carers to join New Family Social free of charge. We also work very closely with agencies to try and improve the services that they offer to LGBT people, to make certain that they’re not discriminating in any of their policies or practices – purely so the experience for LGBT people going through the adoption or fostering process is as smooth as it can be. We’ve just finished a series of free training conferences for adoption and social workers in England called ‘Improving LGBT Adoption’. We ran a number of conferences to talk about the language that adoption and social workers are using when working with LGBT people.

There are still those who are against LGBT people adopting or fostering.

© Susannah Hines

© Susannah Hines

 

The child and what the child needs is most important. If you start from that perspective, and say “What does this child need?” And then look at the parenting skills that can meet those needs, it doesn’t make sense to rule out any section of potential adopters or foster carers simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. It’s not working in the best interests of the child. Whenever people do try and put up the various arguments as to why LGBT people shouldn’t adopt, it’s worth remembering that all the time those conversations are happening there are actually LGBT people out there adopting and fostering, and they’re doing a good job. So the argument becomes fairly moot, because actually it is just happening – even though some people don’t like it.

What have NFS got planned for LGBT Adoption and Fostering Week?

There are two key events that NFS is running for LGBT people who are interested in fostering or adoption – they’re taking place in London and Manchester on 8 March. There are also recruitment events where LGBT people can go along and hear more about what fostering and adoption is like if you are LGBT. A lot of people think that the process is quick and simple; it is relatively quick but it is a fairly demanding process. There’s lots of paperwork to go through, and lots of backstory has to be discussed just to try and identify what challenges you’ve faced in your life, how you’ve overcome those challenges, and what you can bring to help support a child.

For more about what NFS have planned for LGBT Adoption and Fostering Week, visit newfamilysocial.org.uk

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