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

Pride Life Magazine - - SPONSORED FEATURE -

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

pos­sess”

For fur­ther de­tails re­gard­ing fos­ter­ing phone 0208 871 6666 or go to fos­ter­ing.wandsworth.gov.uk

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