Five Rivers Child Care, the national fostering provider and social enterprise, is calling on those from the LGBTQ+ community to consider fostering, as research highlights stark misconceptions about who can foster which could be impacting foster care recruitment.
According to Barnardo’s, the number of children in need of foster care in the UK has risen by 57% during the coronavirus pandemic, yet sexual orientation and identity can prevent those from LGBTQ+ communities from considering fostering .
Research conducted by Five Rivers Child Care shows 60% of people across England are unaware that same-sex couples or those from the LGBTQ+ community are eligible to foster, which could deny the chance for LGBTQ+ individuals to become foster parents and as a consequence, the chance for a child or young person to have a safe place to call home.
Martin Leitch, Head of Fostering Operations at Five Rivers Child Care, said: “With more and more children and young people entering the care system, we want to challenge any misconceptions that prevent people from considering fostering.
“One’s gender, sexuality, religion or ethnicity does not stop them from fostering. Some of our most amazing foster carers are from the LGBT+ community and are enriching children and young people’s lives every day. It’s also extremely important to us that we have foster carers from all backgrounds to reflect the diversity of those youngsters in the care system.
“Whether you’re thinking of a career change or you have been recently made redundant as a result of the pandemic, fostering has the ability to change the life of a child or young person that otherwise might not have a family, or a place to call home.
“Five Rivers’ foster carers receive a high level of training to provide a safe and loving home for a child or young person in care, and we offer a robust programme of e-learning and bespoke training for specialist fostering, as well as round the clock access to support.”
Five Rivers Child Care is looking for foster cares who can provide a safe and stable home for those in need. Prospective foster carers must be interested in making a positive difference to the lives of children and young people in care, be over the age of 21 and have a spare furnished room for each child. Single people, co-habiting couples, LGBTQ+ couples and those living in rented accommodation have the opportunity to become foster carers.