Leverington pair join a call for more gays, lesbians and single people to consider fostering children

Foster carers Martin and Lee Shaw

Foster carers Martin and Lee Shaw - Credit: Archant

A Fen couple are joining a campaign calling for more gay, lesbian, transgender and single people to consider fostering in Cambridgeshire.

Martin and Lee Shaw from Leverington say there have sometimes been uncomfortable moments with professionals asking for Mrs Shaw but mostly their two year fostering experience has been a resounding success.

Lee said: “The young people who have been placed with us have had no concerns when they were told that we were a same sex couple.

“We thought initially that they may have some reservations but after they’ve lived here they often tell social workers that they want to be left living with us.

“Our advice would be the same as for male and female ‘straight’ carers. Think very carefully about your reasons for wanting to foster, and remember it’s a 24/7 job with different challenges every day.”

Foster Care Associates (FCA) is calling for more LGBT foster carers ahead of awareness week.

David Oldham, chief executive of FCA, said: “We have some amazing foster carers, and from the outset we only recruit people from across the spectrum who are open to diversity.

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“Our underlying message is that fostering is open to everyone and it’s up to FCA to provide a safe and welcoming community to support and develop our carers from the assessment process through to placement.”

Lee said: “Martin was in foster care when he was a child and felt this gave him an insight to the feelings and experiences of looked after children. “He had always wanted to foster, but until moving to Cambridgeshire from London it was not feasible because he was looking after a terminally ill partner.

“His partner died in 2007 giving us the option to pursue fostering after I got together with Martin in 2008, although we have been friends since 1984.

“I talked to Martin about fostering and he agreed that we would both be able to offer a good stable home to looked after children.

“Most people appear to accept us as two male foster carers but we have experienced some negative reactions. We feel in most cases this has been down to ignorance rather than intolerance.”