New adoption service for gay and lesbian people

ADOPTION charity Parents And Children Together (PACT) is to launch a new service to help gay and lesbian people adopt a child.

PACT successfully applied for £400,000 funding from the Department for Education (DfE) to launch a new Inclusive Adoption service that specialises and focuses on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in Brighton.

The charity plans to host information events, interview prospective adopters and run workshops to prepare and approve people waiting to adopt from a new office in Brighton, East Sussex, from September 2014.

PACT is working on this project with New Family Social, a UK network for LGBT adoptive and foster families.

Research by New Family Social into the common barriers preventing prospective LGBT adopters from enquiring found:

  •  36% thought sexual orientation was a barrier to becoming parents;
  • 35% thought the assessment and matching process would be easier if they were not LGBT;
  • 25% had been told they should not be a parent.

According to The British Association of Adoption and Fostering (BAAF), 6% of children were adopted by a same sex couple during 2012/13, an increase from 4% in 2011/12. This figure is rising and already PACT is ahead of its peers with more than 13% of adoption applications coming from LGBT applicants.

PACT Chief Executive Jan Fishwick said: “There are many people in the LGBT community who would like a family and PACT wants to engage with those people, bust the myths associated with adoption and demystify the process.

“We will have specially-trained staff and volunteers who understand the common barriers that might prevent prospective adopters from the LGBT community from enquiring.

“This is an exciting development for PACT and we are looking forward to creating many more forever families for children currently in care.”

The PACT team will be raising awareness about the new service at Brighton Pride on Saturday 2nd August at Preston Park.

The new Brighton office will be the fifth location for PACT’s adoption service. Current offices are located in Reading, Oxford, Pimlico (London) and Old Street (London).

An Ofsted inspection in January rated PACT’s adoption service as outstanding across all four assessed areas. PACT’s therapeutic services FACTS, which support adoptive and foster families through difficult times, was awarded Voluntary Adoption Service of the Year in the BAAF National Adoption Week Awards in 2013.

PACT supports vulnerable families through outstanding adoption services, permanent fostering, award-winning therapeutic support and community projects in London and the south.