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This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act 1967, which partially decriminalised homosexuality.
Since 1967, the progress made by the LGBTQ community has been extraordinary. From being told that their right to love each other was a criminal act, to the passing of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act of 2013, the journey has been truly extraordinary.
It is important to remember however, that the 1967 act itself did not bring about equality. The now infamous “Section 28” for example, meant that teaching children about same sex relationships was completely illegal. It wasn’t repealed in England and Wales until 2003, a year after another important piece of legislation came into force with the Adoption and Children Act 2002, which allowed gay and lesbian couples, for the first time, to be able to adopt without fear of discrimination based upon their sexuality. It is important therefor as we rightly celebrate the 50th anniversary of the passage of the decriminalisation of homosexuality, that we should also celebrate the 15th anniversary of adoption and fostering equality.
There is a desperate shortage of foster carers in Wales, with the latest statistics from the Fostering Network showing that Wales alone needs an additional 400 foster families. Within this context it Post draft updated. Previis therefore worrying to read research by Stonewall in 2013 which suggested that 80% of homosexual couples would expect to face barriers because of their sexuality if they wished to become foster parents. This common misconception could not be further from the truth. At Family Fostering Partners, as for other agencies across Wales, we do not consider the gender of your partner to be a factor in your ability to offer care and stability for a child.
Although there are no statistics for the number of LGBT foster parents in Wales, the Fostering Network has found that only 20 couples in same sex relationships adopted between 2015 and 2016. This worryingly low statistic might indicate that the number of homosexual foster carers is also low, which is why we want to spread the important message that sexuality is no barrier to becoming a foster carer. The fight for equality will never be over, but Family Fostering Partners is proud to be working to dispelling myths as well as celebrating good practice.
If you would like more information on how you could change a child’s life by becoming a foster carer then please get in contact through our website at familyfosteringpartners.co.uk or find us on facebook /familyfosteringpartners.co.uk/ and twitter (@FFPfostering).
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