As Father’s Day approaches, potential dads who would like to adopt or foster are being urged by Nottinghamshire County Council not to dismiss the idea just because they might be single or gay.
Coun Kate Foale, the Council’s lead on children’s social care said: “We get a lot of calls from people who would like to become parents but assume, quite incorrectly, that they can’t due to their sexuality or marital status.
“And I’m sure there are many more people out there who have dismissed themselves as eligible long before they even pick up a phone and speak to us.
They might have been misinformed or simply believe that working or being unemployed, renting a house rather than owning one or being religious or political automatically disqualifies them.
“These things don’t necessarily matter – we need all types of people to become foster carers or adopters.
What does matter is being the sort of person who can offer a stable and loving home to children and being able to meet a child’s needs.
“We’d urge anyone who has considered adopting or fostering in the past or is thinking about it now to talk to us first and get the facts.”
Some of the common myths the Council has encountered surrounding eligibility to foster or adopt include:
People thinking they can’t afford to adopt, but the Council has allowances for some children to offer a helping hand including a new fee-paid scheme for fostering children aged 11 plus
Thinking you have to be married – you can be single or living together.
In fact, over one third of Notts adopters haven’t actually tied the knot.
The Council has just two single male adopters at the moment
A belief that only heterosexual couples qualify – the Council has 12 children – or five families of children - placed with gay male couples
Middle-aged couples convinced they’re too old – as long as you’re able to meet a child’s lifetime needs, age is no bar as long as you’re at least 21. The county’s oldest foster carer was heading towards 80 when she retired a couple of years ago and a recent adopter is 50
A perception that having a disability will automatically disqualify you – the Council has disabled foster carers.
Coun Foale added: “We need 50 additional foster carers during the current financial year – and particularly those who are happy to foster older girls and boys – 11 years and older - or provide a loving foster home for 11 to 15 year olds who are currently in residential care.
“This will help to reduce our reliance on expensive, external foster and residential providers.
“We also need more adoptive families for children aged between five to eight years old, sibling groups of two or three and children where there is uncertainty around their developmental potential,” added Councillor Foale.
The Council offers packages of support to its foster carers and adoptive families including social worker support during the assessment process and afterwards; a link with an experienced carer for new foster carers; a programme of activities for children and young people; and ongoing training and development.
To find out more about adopting or fostering, call the Council’s recruitment teams on 0845 301 8899 (for fostering) or 0845 3012288 (for adoption) or visit www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/adoptionandfostering.