LGBT+ community encouraged to consider fostering or adopting a child in Hertfordshire

PUBLISHED: 08:30 11 March 2020

Ray Shaughnessy and Pete Shuttleworth say being a gay couple has never been a barrier to fostering children in Hertfordshire. Picture: Courtesy of Hertfordshire County Council

Ray Shaughnessy and Pete Shuttleworth say being a gay couple has never been a barrier to fostering children in Hertfordshire. Picture: Courtesy of Hertfordshire County Council

Archant

As part of LGBT+ Adoption and Fostering Week (March 5-11), Hertfordshire County Council is encouraging members of the LGBT+ community to consider fostering or adopting a child.

The county council wants to dispel the misconception that LGBT+ people cannot adopt or foster, and says it will always consider applications from anyone able to offer a child a loving and secure home.

Pete Shuttleworth and his partner Ray Shaughnessy have fostered children for about nine years, offering mainly respite care, and say they have not found any barriers to fostering as a gay couple.

Pete said: 'Fostering is quite tough, but rewarding. What amazes me are the children we have looked after. None of them cared we were gay. They just wanted to know what room was theirs, what they were having for dinner or whether they could see a friend.

'We didn't experience any barriers because of our sexuality - the council and the children in our care were very positive.'

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Pete continued: 'Fostering has given us a different perspective on life because neither of us had children.

'One of the boys we fostered is now 21 and we still have a relationship with him. That is quite something. Apart from his auntie, he said we are the most important people in his life.'

There are about 950 children and young people in care in Herts and many of these children need the love and support of a foster family. There are also children who need permanent homes through adoption.

Councillor Teresa Heritage, HCC's deputy leader and cabinet member for children, young people and families, said: 'We welcome applications from anyone who can provide a loving, nurturing and secure environment for children to grow and thrive.

'We encourage people from all backgrounds and communities to foster or adopt with us and we are inviting our local LGBT+ community to come and speak to us about the options available.'

Visit hertfordshire.gov.uk/adoption or hertfordshire.gov.uk/fostering to find out more. Alternatively, call the adoption and fostering recruitment teams on 0800 917 0925.

Foster carers must be over 21 and have a spare room. They can expect a generous allowance and full training and support.

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