Routes to parenthood: fostering
Foster carers look after children and young people who are in the care of a Local Authority. Unlike adoptive parents, foster carers do not have full parental responsibility for the children they care for – this is shared with the local authority and the hope is usually that they can return to their birth families. Foster care may be for short periods, but sometimes children will stay with foster families until they are adults.
Both adoption and fostering can be hugely rewarding experiences. Not only do you get to become a parent, you also get to make a real difference to a child or children who may not have had the best start in life. However, adoption or fostering is not for everyone and it can be a long and somewhat arduous process.
Foster carers come from many backgrounds and include both couples and single people, those who already have children and those who have not. LGBT people can apply to be foster carers as single people or as a couple. You do not have to be married or civil partnered to apply to foster as a couple but you will need to prove you are living together in a committed long-term relationship.
As a foster carer, you will need to be available to support a child or children 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Foster carers are paid an allowance to care for the children they foster – the amount they receive will depend on the age of the child(ren) they are caring for and the needs of the child(ren). There are various different types of foster placements including short-term foster care, emergency fostering, long-term placements and short breaks fostering. Click here for more information on fostering from the British Association of Adoption and Fostering.
- New Family Social - the charity for LGBT adoptive and foster parents
- Fosterline - impartial advice on fostering
- 2 Mums Better Than None blog - first-hand experiences of fostering from a lesbian foster carer
- Blog from TACT Fostering & Adoption on the experiences of a gay male couple who are foster carers
- Blog from TACT Fostering & Adoption on the experiences of a young woman who was fostered by a gay couple