Dana's story (part 1)

How Dana, LGBTQ+ foster carer took her first step into fostering (part 1)

March 4 to March 11 is LGBTQ+ Adoption and Fostering Week, a campaign organised by New Family Social to encourage more LGBTQ+ people to adopt or foster. This is part one of a two-part article looking at Dana's* journey to becoming a foster carer.

Dana always wanted children and her mum thought she would be a great parent. Fast forward to a few years later and she has been a foster carer for a teenager for several years, making a huge impact on the child's life.

After seeing adverts for fostering around Waltham Forest, she enquired with the fostering team at Waltham Forest Council. There's often a misconception about whether people from the LGBTQ+ community can foster, but there is no discrimination based on sexuality or other factors such as if you're married or have a partner.

Dana said; 'A social worker came to my house after the initial enquiry, and we really hit it off. I kept quiet about being gay the entire time. I remember being really nervous, and I wasn't sure what the situation was. The fear in me thought maybe I can't foster because I'm gay. It was the very last thing I said. I was so nervous because I thought she was going to say I've wasted two hours of her time, and we can't proceed. But she was brilliant. She wasn't dismissive and didn't make me feel silly for asking the question. She was incredibly supportive and put me at ease. There was no judgement."

After responding to Dana's enquiry quickly, the fostering team were able to put her on the next available course to get her started on her fostering journey.

If you foster with Waltham Forest, there are a range of financial and social benefits, and if you identify as LGBTQ+ you receive a free membership to New Family Social, an organisation that supports LGBTQ+ parents and carers.

Dana said; "The social worker also introduced me to New Family Social and she signed me up for membership. The membership is through Waltham Forest, and I don't have to pay for it, so that is one of the ways the borough is supporting me as a gay foster carer.

"I've attended support groups and I've done training sessions; it's been brilliant. We had training for transgender awareness delivered by Gendered Intelligence at our Foster Carers Forum. The forums are fantastic and guest speakers come a long to speak to us." New Family Social was also so important for Dana to make connections during the pandemic.

Dana is appreciative of the support that Waltham Forest provides, not only to LGBTQ+ foster carers, but all foster carers across the board. She said: "The fact that the borough provides that and the membership I think is a huge plus for anybody that is considering fostering in Waltham Forest."

Look out for part two, where Dana shares the amazing journey her foster child has gone through in three and a half years.

Want to take your first step to becoming a foster carer like Dana? Enquire now by filling in our quick form.