The Change.org petition, started by Out4Marriage director of campaigns James-J Walsh, outlines the shortage of families willing to adopt two or more siblings, and urges the government to give dual-adoption leave and statutory adoption pay to couples adopting sibling groups, as ways to encourage more families to adopt.
Walsh said: “This is an important issue for the LGBT community, particularly as we are more likely to start our families through adoption. It is vital that we get an appropriate level of support in place to help people in our community become parents, and to ensure that the highest numbers of adopted children are offered the loving and supportive homes that they deserve.”
He went on to state the importance of the timing of this potential amendment, within LGBT Adoption and Fostering Week and as MPs begin to take evidence in a Public Bill committee.
The series of events and workshops nationwide predict that if half of LGBT families came forward to adopt, it could drastically reduce the shortfall in fostering families.
The petition, which will be delivered to Downing Street, reads: “This petition is about giving children in care their fair share of support and not penalising them in the adoption process for having a brother or sister”.
It asks the government to amend the Children & Families Bill 2013 to allow dual leave for couples adopting, and statutory adoption pay to couples adopting sibling groups of two or more.
The petition notes also go on to state that 91% of adoption agencies say there is a shortage of families willing to adopt sibling groups, and that 80% of agencies admitted that it had become harder to do so in the last ten years.
It also further notes there is an economic incentive to the government in making this amendment to the Bill. By getting children out of the care system and adopted the cost to the Welfare budget is a one off cost per carer receiving Statutory Adoption Pay of £5,282, compared to a child being fostered of £25,248 per year or a child in a care-home costing £126,256, which could be being paid for up to 18 years.
If you are an individual or group with an interest in giving formal evidence to the committee you can still submit evidence. Evidence should be no longer than 3,000 and should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
LGBT Adoption and Fostering Week is a series of events around the country aimed to educate prospective parents and carers about the processes involved and to let them hear from others in their area who have adopted or fostered children themselves.
It is organised by New Family Social, the charity run by LGBT adopters and foster carers for families and families-to-be.