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LGBT+ Adoption and Fostering Week: Council calls on county's LGBT+ community to help give 950 children and young people in care in Herts a home of love and support

Members of the LGBT+ community are being encouraged to build their family in Hertfordshire.

There are about 950 children and young people in care in the county who need love and support through fostering or adoption.

Gay couple Jack and Andy, who have been fostering for Hertfordshire County Council for 18 months, believe the experience has changed their lives for the better and they are urging others to get involved during this LGBT+ Adoption and Fostering Week (March 1-7).

Jack said: "Fostering has completely changed our lives. Fostering is just amazing. You wake up each morning and you have children there smiling at you, needing your love and care, so for us it's been the best thing we've ever done."

Partner Andy added: "The good thing about fostering for a same-sex couple is that natural progression from a relationship where you want to have a family. It's made us stronger as a couple because you have to deal with so many things."

They have not encountered any barriers to fostering as a gay couple.

"We were really worried about misconceptions being a same-sex couple, but from our application to approval, we had nothing but support, guidance and love from the team at the council," said Jack.

"What really impressed us during the application process was when we were buddied up with an experienced foster carer who showed us the ropes, and then also teamed up with a same-sex foster couple so we could share experiences."

LGBT+ Adoption and Fostering Week, which is focused this year on the theme Building Your Family in 2021, is organised by charity New Family Social and highlights the steps from application to approval when fostering or adopting.

Cllr Teresa Heritage, Herts County Council's deputy leader and its cabinet member for children, young people and families, said: "We encourage our local LGBT+ community to come forward and speak to us about the options available.

"We welcome applications from all backgrounds and communities to foster or adopt with us. As long as you can offer a loving and secure home for our children, we'd love to hear from you. We will then provide you with extensive training and support to help you on your journey."

To become a foster carer in Hertfordshire, you must be over 21 and have at least one spare room in your home.

Anyone who fosters with the council will get an allowance, training and support. For more information visit www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/fostering and www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/adoption. You can also call the adoption and fostering recruitment teams on 0800 917 0925.

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