Changing gg LIVES
ARE YOU LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL OR TRANSGENDER AND CONSIDERING ADOPTING OR FOSTERING? IF SO, THE LONDON BOROUGH OF WANDSWORTH IS A GOOD PLACE TO START
The first step to applying to adopt or foster a child could be the hardest. There are so many questions you will want answered. You may feel apprehensive or unclear about certain issues at the start of the process.
You are not the only individual or couple who may feel like this!
An increasing number of lesbians and gay men in the UK have been recruited in the last few years to become carers and adopters of children in public care. This increase has been helped by a change in the law and there is a real appreciation of the unique strengths and qualities which such individuals possess.
There may be myths that surround adoption and fostering by lesbians and gay men
They are simply not true or accurate. Nothing should deter you from offering the love and passion you have to either adopt or foster. It could change a child’s life for ever.
Research into children with a lesbian or gay parent showed that there was no effect on their relationship and neither on the child’s socialising or mental health.
Wandsworth Fostering Service places the quality of the care offered to children and young people at the centre of its practice. We value our carers and provide them with a high level of supervision, training and support and feel that all these are necessary to uphold the best possible standards of care.
We are fortunate in that we have a staff group of dedicated and experienced staff who have many years experience in social work with children and fostering and adoption in particular. Our Fostering Manager is gay and is also an approved foster carer with experience in child care and fostering and this level of experience is reflected in the remainder of the staff group.
Wandsworth rejoices in diversity and we enjoy and promote the practice and support of sexuality, culture, religion and all aspects of difference. Our foster parents are well supported with: • An out of hours duty contact number 24
hours a day 365 days a year, • Regular supervisory visits • A mentoring scheme for newly
approved carers • Extensive range of training • The input of skilled social workers and a psychologist within our Placement Support Service • A competitive fee and allowance package HOW DO I PROCEED? Once we have received your completed initial enquiry form, we need to clarify that you meet the criteria for the next stage of the assessment process. As we have explained, it is essential that we ensure that these criteria are met i.e. that you have a spare room, speak English well, and live in or close to Wandsworth to meet the needs of our children requiring placement in foster homes.
We aim to offer all applicants a personalised one-to-one meeting with one of our Supervising Social Workers within five working days, which will provide you with an opportunity to discuss your interest in becoming a foster carer.
We aim to complete this meeting in a timely fashion and will provide you with more information about the assessment process. During this meeting you will be given a Fostering Information Pack. You will also be able to discuss our expectations of foster carers and the rewards and opportunities fostering offers here in Wandsworth.
We are very keen to progress applications in a timely way recognising the demands on prospective carers in terms of the information required, the self reflection and work involved in completing an assessment.
Once we have confirmed a suitable date and time, a colleague will contact you again to confirm who you will be meeting and to provide details of where to come. Following the meeting, if you are still keen to continue and if you meet the criteria, we will need you to complete the second and longer part of the “application to foster” form.
It is vital that you fill out all forms correctly and as fully as possible especially the “previous address” section and obtain consent from all children aged 18 years and older as these form the basis of the checks we complete as part of the assessment. If they are incomplete this will take time to recheck and resubmit etc.
If you have any concerns or questions about information that might affect your application please talk to us at this early stage of the process. Some carers have concerns about their health, previous employment history, previous fostering applications and police checks. We do need to know this, discuss any relevance and would very much want to clarify anything as early in the process as possible.
Wandsworth recognises the need for really excellent foster homes which play an essential role in shaping children’s lives whether on a temporary or permanent basis. We are proud of the foster parents we have and of the service we offer to our foster carers in caring for children, so pick up the phone and ring us to discuss how you can become a part of the Wandsworth Family.
“There is a real appreciation of the unique strengths and qualities which lesbian and gay adopters
For further details regarding fostering phone 0208 871 6666 or go to fostering.wandsworth.gov.uk