Kirklees fostering encourage the LGBT community to discover more about fostering
As part of the #KirkleesPride2020 activities people from the LGBT community are being encouraged to think about becoming foster carers.
Kirklees Fostering is an inclusive service, welcoming applications from people, whatever their marital status, sexuality, religious or cultural background.
Ian and Phil, who are in a same sex relationship, help make a difference to the lives of children and young people in Kirklees by being foster carers. They share their journeys and experiences here.
“Philip and I decided to go into fostering for two reasons, as a same sex couple we couldn’t have children of our own and also because as we both work in Education, we saw the challenges that children in care face. We both decided that as we had a spare bedroom, we had all we needed to offer a loving home to a child in need. We wanted to help and make a difference in a young person’s life.
The initial telephone conversation went really well. We began our visits with the recruitment team, visiting us in our home. I must admit that we both found the process quite intrusive but understood why it was important to ensure that any child in our care would be kept safe.
We started working on our portfolio and completed all the necessary requirements. Visits were made to our family, friends and references were obtained. They all spoke very highly of us, which was lovely to hear. We attended the Skills to Foster weekends and made some good friends along the way. We were the only same sex couple there.
We eventually went to panel and were approved to look after one boy, short term, aged between 5-11 years old. Soon after being approved we were told that a young boy aged 5 required a foster home and we ticked all the boxes. I spoke with my line manager at school who supported me and allowed me to continue working part time.
A short term placement is where a child stays with you till the court decides what is best for the child’s future. The placement team were looking for a long-term placement for our child a few months after he arrived and because it was working incredibly well, we asked to go back to panel to change our profile to long term, 5-18. A long term placement is where you offer support to a child till they are ready to leave and make their own way in the world.
Once approved we asked to keep him long term rather than facing the difficult decision to see him move on. He’s been with us right from day one and our bond with him is incredible. He calls us daddy and pops and it melts our hearts every time he says it.
There are other options available in foster care, such as respite care or emergency care. We felt we could offer this option later in our fostering journey and we have met some wonderful children with so much potential.
We now have two long term foster children, both very different but both very much part of our family. We couldn’t imagine our home without them, and it was certainly the right thing for us to go into fostering nine years ago. It doesn’t matter who you are, the colour of your skin, sexuality or if you are a single person. If you want to foster and make a difference in a young person’s life, then do it, but be sure you’re doing it for the right reasons.
We have helped out on Skills to Foster courses and have a good network of people to help us along. If you are thinking of fostering and feel apprehensive because of the myths out there, contact your local Fostering Team. They will be more than happy to come talk to you about the journey and give you some honest advice.
I once recorded a radio advertisement on fostering for Kirklees council a few years ago, this is what I said.
“Hi, my name is Ian I’m a long-term foster carer for my local council in West Yorkshire. The benefit of being a long-term foster carer for me is the great sense of satisfaction. To wake up in a morning and see such a big smile from a child that knows that he’s safe, he’s secure he’s got stability in his life. He knows he’s going to be loved. Being a long-term foster carer is the best decision I’ve ever made”
Ian & Philip
If you’d like to know more about fostering, our friendly team would love to hear from you. We can provide you with lots of information and advice to help you decide whether fostering is right for you and your family.
Telephone: 0800 389 0086