Portsmouth same-sex couple urge others to open up their home and foster a child in need
Foster carer couple Lisa and Charlotte Skinner say that deciding to help children who need a home has been the ‘best life-changing decision’ they have ever made.
This week is LGBT Adoption and Fostering week and Portsmouth City Council is encouraging lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to consider offering a loving home to a child or young person in care.
Foster carers like Lisa and Charlotte are attempting to encourage lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people to foster children, and make their lives better.
"It's the best life-changing decision we have ever made,’ said Lisa, who has been a foster carer for more than four years. ‘We absolutely love making a difference to our children's lives and giving them the confidence to achieve things they never imagined they could.’
After their experiences, they are now trying to encourage others in the LGBT community to foster children and make children happy, who are in care, and in need of love.
‘We would advise anyone thinking about fostering to enquire or attend an open day - there are so many children out there who need someone to love and support them,’ added Lisa.
There are currently 483 looked after children in Portsmouth in need of a stable, supportive and loving home. A national shortage of foster carers means the children are remaining in the council's care for much longer than they should. There is a particular need for long-term foster carers, as well as those able to accommodate sibling groups and look after children with more complex needs.
Cllr Rob Wood, Portsmouth City Council's cabinet member for children and families said: ‘Sexual orientation is not a factor we consider when we're reviewing applications, and we know from experience that same-sex couples and single LGBT people have so much to offer children who are waiting for a family. We would like to talk to everyone who feels they could meet the needs of the children in our care.’
According to the Department for Education, in England 450 adoptions were made by same-sex couples, out of 3,820 adoptions last year. This accounts for one in eight of all adoptions in 2018, or 12 per cent.