Wednesday, June 06, 2018


A reader writes;

"Hi again, this is anon who asked about lgbt caring a few months back. Just an update. I have my panel date. It's August, yippee. I know there is a chance I may not get approved but I'm quietly confident. Such that I've used all my work holidays to take Christmas into early Jan off so that's I'm free for any emergencies that may arise as I hear it's a busy time for care. I've not had Christmas off in eight years as it's a standard work time at my employer, so it's exciting but also a nervous time.if i get approved August time plan would be to do mostly respite at weekends and school holidays and make myself free for emergency placements over Christmas. Also the city where I lives has a large Polish population so I've asked a friend to help me learn 'Polish for kids' as it's another plus point. Annnnnnd a neighbour donated some toys for the spare room. So many in fact I gave some to the local refugee centre. All coming along nicely. So hopefully Aug time I'll be waiting for a placement. We shall see!"

Thanks for that, Anon.

So...exciting days! 

Anon is leaving little to chance, and that bodes great things for the children that are destined for some quality loving care. 

LGBT caring is going to become a big thing. All the signs are that the present-day youngest generation in the UK are going to do things their way, and that means that the old binary system of gender identification is toast.

Amen to that.

When I was in the youngest generation I well remember what seemed a strange rumour doing the rounds in our playground. According to the rumour there could be such a thing as a man who fancied other men. Whichever gossip-monger was passing on this titbit made sure that everyone knew that they, the custodians of this state secret, thought it salacious/hilarious/preposterous. It was a requirement that each of us on hearing the tale reacted aghast. It was a given that such a thing, in the unlikely event it actually exists, must necessarily be disapproved of.

Looking back I wonder if there were schoolmates of mine who cried themselves to sleep some nights after confirmation that the way God or nature had made them was going to mean a life sentence of secrecy, solitude and fear.

I was unmoved about it from my own perspective because I remember with absolute clarity that the rumour was very specific that this weird thing was confined to men. 

Dear me, looking back, the ignorance of ourselves was lamentable. The pain that must have gone around immeasurable. But not our fault; the 'civilised' world we lived in then covered up the whole issue of sex of any kind. 

The big and only thing many children often need to stay roughly on track is the truth, gently told, offered to them in a way that fits their age and ability to hear and process. 

That said, it helps if the people doing the explaining know what they're talking about.

The combined skills, knowledge and talents of a professional social worker and a caring foster parent who has special knowledge and understanding of LGBT will be too much for blind ignorance and prejudice. Kindness, truth and understanding always wins.

I get saddened when I have to spend time in the company of people (usually my generation or older) who want to beat that drum about how the world is going to hell in a handcart, and they often attribute this state of affairs to all this progressive permissiveness.

These poor worry-bunnies should please not drone their gloom about the future in the company of children.

The facts are that things get better all the time. Fact. Good always seems to win in the end. Only by a small amount sometimes, but it does.

When I did history at school the politics and policies of parliaments didn't interest me, but ordinary folk did. I discovered this was called social history. The causes of the First World War were all Greek to me, but I was fascinated to learn that the lids of the coffins of the men who fell were nailed down, but the coffin lids of officers got screws because officers mattered more. 

Back in the good old days children only mattered at all when they were old enough to work.

Social history proves we're making great progress, the future looks great compared to the past.

The average age at which people start to think we should return to past values appears to be about 50, yet in the 'good old days' - say a hundred years ago - the average life expectancy in Britain was 51 so they're welcome to blaze a trail back to the past, only they better be quick because they won't haven't long left if they get there.

They need the facts. For example as recently as 1920 1 in 8 children died in childhood. Diseases like mumps, measles, poxes and polios were common. If illness didn't get the young there were always the poorhouses, the workhouses, the chimneys to sweep from the inside.

If those horrors weren't enough there was always the law which made no distinction between child and adult and our prisons were full of 'criminals' aged under twelve. Speaking of aged twelve; they could be hanged. And, unbelievably, often were...and we're not talking that long ago.

There are many things wrong in the world, and plenty still to be fixed in Britain.

But the big new things that threaten our children now are more of the mind than the body. The next battle to win will be over mental health, everyone knows that. Depression is the new Black Death. 

One of the pressures that has faced many young people over the last hundred years is confusion about their love lives, and who they are compared to who they think everyone thinks they should be. Everything we can do to clear up their misunderstandings and lessen the dangers to their peace of mind must be done, and people like Anon are more than their soul-mates in this, they are their champions.

And worth remembering that Anon and other like-minded folk will by no means be limiting their fostering to young people with LGBT issues.

I'd reply to Anon like this;

"Dear Anon;

You will possibly sometimes face sceptics about your life choices in fostering; no more or less than you have faced so far in life already. Here's wishing you the heart and strength to win again, because now you've rolled up your sleeves for others.

There's a roll-call of foster children who are heroes of mine, many foster parents too. But you are right at the front of the line."


  1. Awh thank you for the lovely post and words of encouragement, it is all very kind of you. My social worker is next visiting on 19th for a good chat and a nose round the house. I've been doing a full house refit by myself and the LA want to know how it's coming along.
    I'll be having 3 to 5 weekly visits before my panel, then the health and safety assessment, then panel. I've got a few more health and safety things to do but my checklist is nearly complete too.
    I'm still quietly optimistic and all my neighbours have been lovely knowing I'm doing the house up on a budget but also knowing I'd likely be looking after local kids. Im in one of the poorest areas of Britain but everyone has been super generous, such that I've now turned away offers for toys, pointing people at carers I know. One great thing I got given was a large chalkboard and an a4 sized one. Large one is now on the wall in spare room, and small one will show today and tomorrows meals so kids don't worry about food. I'll put it up in kitchen.
    Though I haven't been approved yet my LA have tentatively assigned me to a team and I've already met the carers in it which is a great help.
    Bit anxious about my SW visit on 19th as she hasn't been round since I put the new bathroom in. Like a visit from the Queen,. Hehe

  2. Brilliant anon. You're one amazing addition to the cause.

    Like I've said, you're leaving nothing to chance. You are going to make a big difference to many young people.

    Heh, can you imagine the Queen and her family trying for approval? Mind, maybe that Meghan and her bloke are one of us...

    1. I have to say mind, that whilst the approval process is very slow, and in equal measure very thorough, it was quite satisfying when filling out a form with the question - 'List your childcare experience and/or areas of knowledge that could aid a child in care' - to be able to put LGBT issues. I'm sure every carer would do there very best if faced with any such issues but I guess it's the difference between being aware of something and having gone through it. You can empathise, not just sympathise.

    2. Sorry not to reply straight away, had a bunch of diversions at my end lol.
      Of course you're right; you have a key area of strengths and it's good that you're pleasantly proud of them.
      You've a lot to offer not only young people with difficulties, but the rest of us in fostering (I'm thinking other foster carers and social services specifically). We could use raised awareness and better knowledge and understanding.
      Go Anon! Big job looming!