More members of Hertfordshire’s LGBTQ+ community urged to consider becoming foster carers

A transgender foster carer from Hemel Hempstead said ‘young people make my life fulfilled’
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Members of the LGBTQ+ community in Hertfordshire are being urged to consider becoming a foster carer.

Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) has launched a campaign to dispel the misconception LGBTQ+ residents cannot foster. And it is calling on residents from the LGBTQ+ community to apply or to find out more about it.

Rona Howard from Hemel Hempstead is transgender and has been fostering with the council for 24 years.

Rona says fostering gives her a purpose in life.Rona says fostering gives her a purpose in life.
Rona says fostering gives her a purpose in life.

Rona said: “I was quite apprehensive of becoming a foster carer but I was accepted with open arms. It was really lovely. There were no barriers.

“Every foster carer gets support, everyone’s treated equally. There’s no stigma, there’s absolutely nothing, it’s fantastic.”

Rona, who is now 73, transitioned when she was 50. She added: “With the young people, when I first transitioned, I was always very scared and nervous that they would not accept me but things have changed over the years. Fostering gives me a purpose in life. The young people make my life fulfilled.”

Nationally, there is a shortage of foster carers from the LGBTQ+ community, and out of 350 fostering households in Hertfordshire, only 10 of them of them are from the LGBTQ+ community.

Jack and Andy say fostering is the best thing they've ever done.Jack and Andy say fostering is the best thing they've ever done.
Jack and Andy say fostering is the best thing they've ever done.

Jack Doyle and Andy Windebank have been fostering with HCC for five years and are looking after a sibling group. They say fostering changed their lives for the better.

They said: “You wake up and you have children there smiling at you, needing your love and care. For us it’s been the best thing we’ve ever done.”

Anyone who applies receives pay and allowances, training and support.

Councillor Fiona Thomson, HCC’s member for Children, Young People and Families, said applications from the LGBTQ+ community were welcomed ‘wholeheartedly’. She added: “We consider applications from anyone able to offer our children a loving and supportive home, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“We pride ourselves on the support we offer to all our foster carers. We’ll be on hand to support you every step of the way, and we have other fostering households from the LGBTQ+ community who will also be able to offer help and advice.”

To find out more, visit the council’s fostering webpage.