The launch of LGBT Adoption Fostering Week this week sees
leading children's charities encouraging gay couples to consider
putting themselves forward as adoptive and foster parents,
particularly for older children.
According to the latest figures, 43% of children who entered care
in England last year were over the age of 10. Some were as old as
16 or 17.
With such huge emphasis being placed on babies and young children,
older children, many of who are extremely vulnerable, are being
Barnardo's Media Manager, Paul Ilett and his husband have been
together for 16 years. In the past six years they have fostered
over 20 children, most of who were over the age of 10, and describe
it as the best thing they've ever done.
Paul said: "We've been able to build the confidence of a lot of
teenagers and seeing the benefits is so rewarding.
All children need caring for, no matter what age they are, they
just need it in different ways."
Paul describes how rewarding it was to be able to give one of the
children he fostered the chance to go on holiday for the first
He told DIVA: "It was particularly special because it was the
first time he had been on an aeroplane and the first time he'd been
Knowing we had given him something he was never able to experience
before was a real pleasure."
A new study shows that lesbian and gay couples often have the
right mix of skills and experience to raise children who have been
Lesbian couple Marcel and Meryl went one step further and adopted
two boys through Barnardo's, who, at the time were the only agency
who offered adoption to gay couples.
And they haven't looked back since.
Marcel says: "The difficult times were outweighed by beautiful
moments, such as watching Jamie dancing on stage, seeing Matthew
learn to ride his bike, walking the dog in the woods and telling
the boys about the wood fairies."
With at least 8,750 new foster families needing to be found in the
next 12 months there is a real and urgent need for potential foster
parents to come forward.
Barnardo's is urging more people to consider putting themselves
forward as potential foster parents - particularly for older
children. If you think you might make a good foster parent and want
to find out more contact Barnardo's on 08000 277 280 or Barnardo's