Leeds City Council has organised a special open day to help gay and lesbian people learn more about fostering and adoption.
The open day is being held on Tuesday 5th March, from 7:00 to 8.30pm at South Leeds City Learning Centre on Gipsy Lane in Beeston (part of the Cockburn High School campus). It follows a successful open day last year which resulted in a good number of enquiries and some successful applicants who are now fostering and some who have been approved to adopt.
The open day will allow people who are considering becoming a foster carer or adopter to meet experts from Leeds City Council’s fostering and adoption teams. They will be able to find out more about the assessment process, what types of children the council is currently looking for homes for, and what requirements are needed. There will also be the opportunity to meet a gay foster carer and a gay adopter who will talk about what being a foster carer or adopter is really like.
The open day is being held to coincide with the national LGBT Adoption and Fostering Week, which runs from 4 to 10 March 2013, and is organised by New Family Social. At a time when adoption figures are at a ten year low, a new study shows lesbian and gay people often have the right mix of skills and experience to raise children who have been in care, and give them a great new start in life.
Councillor Judith Blake, executive member responsible for children’s services said:
“Over the years, our lesbian and gay foster carers and adopters have made a tremendous contribution towards helping the city provide supportive homes for children and young people. We welcome more applications from all potential foster carers and adopters regardless of their sexuality, religion or marital status. The main thing is that you are able to give children and young people the care and support they need to be happy and fulfilled.”
Leeds City Council sees lesbian and gay people as having a key role to play in meeting the urgent need for more new homes for children in care.
There is no such thing as a typical foster carer or adopter – they can be single, married, divorced, employed, unemployed, with or without children of their own. People from diverse backgrounds and all ethnic origins are needed to help children benefit from living with families who share their own culture, language and religion.
The council’s fostering service provides a comprehensive range of training and support for its foster carers, including weekly fees and allowances.
Shaune Teasdale and Daniel Lee were approved as foster carers for Leeds City Council in September 2012. They attended the first open day last year. Shaune says:
“We came to the decision we wanted to foster a while ago, when I was made redundant, but were concerned as a gay couple we might not be able to. We came along to the open day last year and came away reassured and more determined than ever! The open day showed us the reality of being a foster carer – it didn’t just focus on the positives but it didn’t put us off.
“We realised it was the right time for us, because I’d enough of being career-minded and wanted to give something back, and make a difference.
“I was expecting the assessment process to be more intimidating, the open day made it sound quite scary, but the lady who assessed us made us feel at ease – it was like chatting to a friend. She asked a lot of questions, but they were all relevant so we didn’t mind answering them.
“I’d recommend fostering to anyone who’s thinking about it, it is the most rewarding thing we’ve ever done. There are the tantrums to deal with but the hugs make it worth it.”
To find out more about fostering or adopting for Leeds City Council visit: www.foster4leeds.co.uk or ring 0113 247 7443.