Caring people of all sexualities are being encouraged to help change the lives of children in Essex this LGBT Adoption and Fostering Week.
Essex County Council’s foster families and adopters give loving homes to hundreds of children in care every year.
About 20 per cent of the authority’s adopters are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, and the council is very clear that sexuality is no barrier to adoption and fostering.
LGBT Adoption and Fostering Week, which takes place from 6 March to 12 March, is a national awareness event organised by New Family Social - the UK’s support group for LGBT adopters and foster carers.
Sarah, 43, and Louise, 32, (not their real names), had a real desire to start a family and give children in care a loving home in the process, and adopted a young brother and sister through Essex County Council last year.
Sarah, who is a teacher, said: “The children have brought so much joy to our lives. It’s been brilliant and a real privilege to have been matched with them.
“Seeing their personalities develop and their attachment to us grow has been so special."
Sally, 38, and Ruth, 40, (not their real names), have been fostering a four month old girl since November, with a view to adopting her once court proceedings have concluded - something known as an early permanence placement.
Sally said: “There’s no discrimination whatsoever or anything like that. You don’t get singled out or get special treatment. You’re treated exactly the same as everybody else.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re a same-sex couple, heterosexual, single, so I would definitely encourage people not to have any reservations.”
Essex County Council offers a lifetime of support to adopters, including social events, LGBT support groups, help and advice, and access to specialist services when needed.
The council’s foster carers receive full training, extensive local support and a competitive financial package.