Essex County Council is encouraging LGBT couples and individuals to find out more about adoption and fostering as part of LGBT Adoption and Fostering Week.
The awareness week, aimed at lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender individuals and couples, runs from March 7 until 13.
In 2014/15 just 6 per cent of adopters approved by Essex County Council were gay, lesbian or bi-sexual.
By September 2015 this figure had jumped to 20 per cent; an increase the council says it is “really proud of”.
There will be a special LGBT adoption information event held on Thursday, 7 March 17, giving potential adopters the opportunity to find out more and meet LGBT families who have adopted through Essex.
Richard, an LGBT adopter said: “When my husband and I decided to adopt a child, we knew that our lives would never be the same again.
“We knew that the changes that would take place would be incredible and that the journey ahead would be both exhilarating and exhausting.
“It turns out that our lives changed more than we had ever anticipated, we walked into adoption with a concept, and we came out with a family!
Essex County Council offers a lifetime of support to adopters including social events, LGBT support groups, help and advice and support to access specialist services when needed.
Foster carers also play a vital role in providing a stable family for children who cannot live with their birth families.
Sometimes fostering can be short-term, until children return to their families, but in a minority of cases children may need fostering until they grow up.
Paul, an LGBT foster carer said: “My husband and I have been fostering for 10 years and work with a superb team of social workers offering advice, support and training.
“We are treated as valued and respected foster carers and have been able to offer a good, stable home to many children and young people over the years.
“Fostering is, without a doubt, the best decision we ever made.”
You can find out more about fostering by attending a fostering information event (find one near to you at www.essex.gov.uk/fostering) or by calling 0800 801 530.
All foster carers receive full training, local support and a competitive financial package.
Cllr Dick Madden, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services said: “We are looking for adopters and foster carers from all walks of life with the time, commitment and patience to support a child or children who’ve a difficult start to their childhood.
“If you could help a child to overcome their past and to reach their potential then we’d love to hear from you.”
For more information call 0800 801 530 or www.essex.gov.uk/adoptionandfostering
Source: Chelmsford Weekly