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Foster Dad calls on LGBTQ+ community to consider fostering

To mark LGBT+ History Month, which runs throughout February, we spoke to one of our foster carers, Mark, about his fostering experiences.

Mark, first considered fostering when he was in his late teens. Having realised he was gay at a young age, Mark thought becoming a foster carer would enable him to have a family of his own and to be a dad to children and young people in need.

Reflecting on his decision to become a foster carer, Mark said: “Quite a few people said to me that I wouldn’t be able to foster because I was gay. So, I started to do some research of my own and found that anyone from the LGBT+ community can foster.

“Before submitting my application, I was a secondary school teacher and had various support worker and social housing roles working with children and young people. I began to notice the lack of mental health and emotional support available to those with experiences of abuse and neglect. Having witnessed this many times, I was ultimately motivated to make the career switch and submit an application to become a foster carer.”

Since embarking on a career in fostering as a single carer fifteen years ago, Mark has fostered 10 children on long-term placements, which means they usually stay in Mark’s care until they are 18, and sometimes 20, on extended placements. Mark is currently looking after three boys.

Mark continues: “Because of my employment background and specialist training, I predominantly care for children with histories of early childhood trauma as a result of abuse and neglect. Young people usually come to me when they’re around 13 and live under my care until they become young adults.

On misconceptions surrounding recruitment across the LGBT+ community, Mark said: “There shouldn’t be any misconceptions or discrimination around those who can provide a loving and safe home to those in need. These children and young people need our help and the more people that can do that, the better. I’m staggered by the figure that shows how much of a difference just a small percentage of the LGBT community could make if they chose to foster.”

For more information on foster care contact Five Rivers Child Care on 0345 266 0272 or email [email protected].

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