Call for more foster carers from the LGBTQ+ community

MORE foster carers from the LGBTQ+ community are being called for as fostering applications fall by 14 per cent in Greater Manchester. 

This week marks LGBTQ+ Adoption and Fostering Week, a campaign started by the charity New Family Social over a decade ago.

When it began, just one in 31 adoptions were to same-sex couples, but last year that stood at one in five. There is no national data on the sexual orientation or gender identity of those who currently care for the most vulnerable children.

The week, which runs until Sunday, March 10, is being supported by Greater Manchester’s own Fostering Unfiltered campaign to inspire people from all walks of life to become foster carers.

Karen (left) and Gaynor Minton-Westhead

Gaynor and Karen Minton-Westhead are a couple that have been together for 41 years.

They started their fostering journey 21 years ago when they became the first same-sex couple to foster, and then adopt, for Tameside Council. They have recently decided to start the fostering process all over again with Stockport Council.

“When we first started fostering, there was a lot of stigma and it was quite challenging,” they said. “However there’s nothing like that now and we’ve found everyone to be so supportive of our fostering journey.

“Whether you’re a same-sex couple, a heterosexual couple, a single parent, it doesn’t matter, if you’ve got love and room in your home, you can make a child’s life worthwhile. All they need is stability, love and nurturing and not to mention they keep you young!”

The need for more foster carers is greater than ever.

Despite 6,105 children currently in care in Greater Manchester, the number of applications received by Greater Manchester’s local authority fostering services in 2022/23 fell by around 14 per cent compared to 2021/22.

LGBTQ+ Adoption and Fostering Week is just one of many campaigns key to reversing the trend.

Fostering Unfiltered aims to inspire more people in Greater Manchester from all walks of life to become foster carers, and provide loving and stable homes to children across the 10 boroughs – including in Tameside and Oldham.

The campaign embraces the realities of fostering and reflects the real lives of existing foster carers by sharing their everyday experiences and challenges.

Residents are being encouraged to visit to find out more.

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