During Pride month this June, Trafford Council is thanking and celebrating foster carers from the LGBT community.
Trafford residents Barry and Andrew have recently completed their first year as foster carers, during which they have successfully cared for five children aged 5 to 18.
Although the couple had often discussed the possibility of fostering, they had been concerned that working full time and living in rented accommodation would be barriers to them being able to be foster carers . However at a Council-run drop-in session about fostering in 2017 they learned that this was not the case, and decided that the time was right for them to apply.
The rest of the journey, the interviews and the training was both exciting and anxiety provoking but rarely did we question our commitment to fostering, if anything we were frustrated that we had left it so long… and to our absolute joy we were approved by the panel as foster carers in March 2019.
We have only just had our one year anniversary as foster carers, the time seems to have flown by and our lives have changed so much for the better.
While we never saw our sexuality as a barrier to being foster carers, we did wonder how it might affect the young people we cared for, how might they feel, how might the young person's family feel, would the young people use our sexuality against us when they were angry with us or want to lash out?
Again, our fears were soon dissipated as it did not matter to the young people or anyone else; all that mattered was that they had a safe home with people who could care for them.
All of our young people have mentioned our wedding photos we have in our living room and asked how long we have been together, where did we meet etc and shown genuine interest in us as a couple, not because we are gay. None of the young people we have cared for have made any reference to our sexuality, they see us as a couple, no different to any anyone else, sexuality to our young people is not an issue.
We are hopefully positive role models for them and enable the young people in our care to thrive to their fullest potential, no matter the circumstances."
Supervising Social Worker Julie James said:
All of the children have benefited from Barry and Andrew's support and their strength is how they encourage children to participate in discussions and empower them to find solutions and make decisions for themselves. Working in partnership with the children in an inclusive and restorative way has ensured positive outcomes for the children in their care.
I have spoken to all of the children placed and they have all informed that they think Barry and Andrew are great carers who have the right approach. They felt happy and settled with them and have all asked if they can have respite again.
I'm full of admiration for these carers whose first year of fostering has been fantastic.”
Cllr Cath Hynes, Trafford Council’s Executive Member for Children’s Services said:
Barry and Andrew’s story is an inspiration and it’s wonderful to see the positive impact fostering has had both for them and the young people they have cared for in their first year.
We would encourage anyone from the LGBT community interested in becoming a foster parent to contact our Fostering Team to find out more about how they could support a young person in Trafford.”
For more information visit the Trafford Council Fostering page.
Posted on Wednesday 1st July 2020