Did you know that there are hundreds of children living in Leeds who need to be adopted or fostered? An important part of our ambition to be a child friendly city is that we want to make sure all our children are in homes that are safe, where they can receive care with patience, understanding and loving kindness from someone they can trust.
But people don’t always know the difference between adoption and fostering. There are many similarities – people who want to adopt or foster have to go through an assessment process, receive training, have to be matched with suitable children and have on-going support. Both our adoption and fostering teams at Leeds City Council are highly experienced, dedicated to doing the best they can for the children and prospective carers. They are with you every step of the way, from first thoughts (and doubts!) to assessment, panels and beyond. Adoptive families and foster carers come from many different backgrounds and experiences – and include married or unmarried couples, single people and gay or lesbian couples, as well as people with black or minority ethnic backgrounds. Some already have children of their own, some don’t, but they all have the desire to bring joy to the lives of children who need looking after.
Here the similarities end. With adoption you are choosing to grow your family by being matched to a child who will live with you permanently, and who will legally become your own child and you their parents. Foster carers are looking after children on behalf of the council, and the arrangement will be temporary – although not necessarily short term. Sometimes the children being fostered will go back to their own families, or sometimes they will be fostered until they can find someone to adopt them. Some foster carers look after children at short notice for a very short time, while some do long term fostering. Some even foster for just a few days at a time to give either a child or their family respite care. Another type is private fostering, where a private arrangement is made for someone other than the parents or a close family member to look after a child. The council doesn’t organise these private fostering arrangements, but we do need to know about them.
In the coming months we will talk in more detail about adoption and fostering, and hear lots of amazing and thought-provoking stories from our staff, from people going through the process of becoming foster carers or adoptive parents, from panel members and from people who were adopted or fostered when they were younger. One thing we are sure they have in common is that they are ordinary people who are doing something remarkable for a child in Leeds – and you could too.
If you want to find out more about adoption or fostering with Leeds City Council, look at our website www.foster4leeds.co.uk. Here you will find out more about the process, what you need to think about, and also dates for our information evenings, where you can come and find out more from our friendly staff and ask questions, with no obligation to take it any further.
Either way, we would love it if you thought about whether you could adopt or foster, to help Leeds become the best city for children and young people to grow up in.
Picture posed by models.