Ahead of this year's LGBT+ Adoption and Fostering Week (2-8 March) Portsmouth City Council are encouraging lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to consider offering a loving home to a child or young person in care.
A growing number of LGBT+ people now foster and adopt in England, with more than 1 in 7 adoptions approved with LGBT+ couples and individuals.
The council welcomes applications from members of the LGBT community and has already helped many same-sex couples and single LGBT people to foster and adopt. Portsmouth foster carers Flick and Jo Lee have fostered since 2016.
Flick Lee said "The decision to foster is one of the best we have ever made. We have always wanted to help children needing a safe and secure environment and both felt we had a lot of love to give".
"The process to apply is very thorough, but has to be when you consider the role you are applying for. We were quickly assigned a social worker who supported us throughout the application process."
"Portsmouth City Council offer an extensive range of training courses to support you once approved, and there is a social element to these days. We have made some fantastic friends with other foster carers we have met, some of which have become more like family."
"If you're considering fostering then go for it, with an open mind and an open heart!"
The focus of this year's campaign is to tackle some of the myths that LGBT+ people hold that prevent them from exploring fostering and adoption further. Portsmouth foster carers Dan Luckham and Luke Dobson had their concerns during the application process, but have no regrets now.
Dan Luckham said "We had some discussions about being a same sex couple and how we would deal with any questions or potentially hurtful comments, but we haven't actually experienced any negativity. The children we have cared for don't seem to think anything of it. Our ability to care for children and provide a safe and happy home has never been under question."
"We both work in schools and were initially inspired by a pair of foster carers caring for a child in the school I work at. I was amazed by the positive impact they had on him in such a short space of time, and how much he began to thrive."
"After sharing with Luke we realised that with our experience of working with children and with the space we have in our home, that we could do the same."
There are currently 470 looked after children in Portsmouth, many living with foster carers on a short or long term basis. The council are keen to recruit more foster carers, with a particular need for long term foster carers, as well as those able to accommodate sibling groups, Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Minors and teenagers.
Cllr Rob Wood, Cabinet Member for Children and Families said "There is no such thing as a typical foster carer. We welcome applications from everyone who feels they could offer a loving, nurturing and safe environment to the children in our care, and we know from experience that same sex couples and single LGBT people have so much to offer. If you're interested in finding out more, we would love to hear from you."
For more information on fostering in general, please contact the fostering recruitment team on 023 9283 4071, visit www.foster.portsmouth.gov.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org.