Foster care has evolved. No matter the ethnicity or how people identify, all foster carers including LGBTQ+ foster carers protect children from social media. Diverse cultures now support the changing needs of vulnerable children in a world of hidden dangers. But many people in the LGBTQ+, worry that how they identify, is a barrier to fostering. However, how you identify is not a barrier. Children do not identify foster carers by labels; they identify you by the love and kindness you give them.
There are many young people in care who also struggle to identify their sexuality. And, sadly, without support and guidance, they look to social media for answers. However, cookies in social media, link to a world where social media is not always as it seems.
I am not implying that, because you are gay; you are qualified to support young people struggling with their sexuality. All foster carers can do that. However, LGBTQ+ foster carers often rule themselves out of fostering. And as we know, they are amazing foster carers who are supporting children in loving fostering households. But, we need more LGBTQ+ foster carers; it’s really that simple.
Social media is often the oracle to the future.
For many young people, the world of social media is a key to the future. It is an oracle that provides answers; especially for those without peer role models who guide them. Sadly, young people, struggling to identify with their sexuality rely on social media. It is the oracle that knows everything; however, not everything is as it seems.
Also, for many older foster carers; this ‘parenting style’ is an unknown world. It is not a world to which they relate. However, social media and digital technology have played a huge part in children’s lives today. But, their knowledge, without guidance, is often reckless. And regardless of the best intentions, some foster carers admit, they are often out of their depth with social media. Whereas, others, just see it as another challenge and flourish, which is why they are amazing foster carers.
Foster carers now have extensive support & training in Social media.
The foster care role has adapted to include the ever-changing world in which children live. Social media training and support is a vital parts of the training that foster carers must have. We need to support our children and young people in the hidden dangers of cookies and social media. Because young people seek answers but are not aware of the cookies that follow their search. Or those who watch and track.
Foster carers need ‘support networks’ to bridge this gap of LGBT+ support. Thankfully, LGBT+ Youth in Care help children and young people come to terms with their sexuality.
LGBT Youth in Care was established in 2013 by a group of individuals who worked within the care system. They found there were no resources specific to helping LGBTQ+ youth in care. Since then, a lot has changed; however, there is still a long way to go.
‘Social media and the experts on LGBT+’
Social media has a massive impact on young people’s lives. And younger foster carers have grown up with social media; it is a way of life. However, older foster carers adapt and integrate Social Media into their daily lives, as and when they need it. Unlike others, they don’t rely on it. These foster carers prefer a blend of old communication skills and new ones. More importantly, they prefer a world where the spoken word is the main form of communication with children.
For them, Facebook and Instagram are a way to connect together with friends and family. We use it to find information. However, after a while, it becomes boring, and we turn it off.
And, for children and young people struggling with identity and sexuality; the oracle shares secrets for LGBT+. They trust it; however, Social Media is not the keeper of secret questions from young people.
Social media is a sinister pathway that tracks and shares secrets with others. Also, cookies are not biscuits; they are feeders of information to newfound LGBT+ experts. The faceless friends who befriend behind keyboards are not who they appear.
How we ‘identify’ is not how children identify us.
There are many people who identify as LGBT+ who want to foster but think they won’t stand a chance. Mainly, it is because of the perception of how they identify. Also, they feel they are judged by the labels attached to LGBTQ+. This is untrue because there are many same-sex foster carers in relationships and single gay foster carers. These foster carers are doing an amazing job as foster carers and give children a safe and loving home environment. Furthermore, they have grown to adore their foster children, and the children adore them back.
Also, we must remember, how we identify as adults are not how children identify us. Children identify people regardless of sexuality, age, colour, faith, or background; to them, how we identify ourselves is irrelevant. Sadly, many children in care have lived with trauma and abuse; they identify with kindness and love.
These children need foster carers to make them feel safe and understand the real them. They need to know that if they feel sad or confused, you will listen. More importantly, with consistent love and support, these children learn to identify themselves. No matter what the labels say, these children are happy.
LGBT+ have often faced barriers themselves.
People from the LGBT+ community have often faced barriers to acceptance in their community. Therefore, they understand the difficulties and obstacles children and young people face when identifying their sexuality. It is important to recognise that for a child, struggling to identify, the lived experiences of others are vital.
We know that for many young people, adolescence is a time for learning. This learning includes understanding their feelings towards themselves and others because their sexuality is a challenge. Sadly, those without support, rely on social media to fill in the blanks of confusion.
We know that cookies lead children into a dark world, where, without guidance, children and young people become ‘vulnerable’. This is why foster carers receive extensive training on social media. We know, that when used well, social media is a fun experience. But, when it is abused, it is a dark world that children need protection from.
Training and guidance on social media represent the challenges of the ever-changing times we live in. Often, this is not the world we are used to. After all, many foster carers grew up without the world wide web. However, these foster carers understand that to give total support to children and young people, we must learn. So we get out of our comfort zone, log on and learn how to protect children from social media.
Verve; proudly recruiting foster carers for Not-for-Profit charities.
Verve recruits foster carers for the Not-for-Profit sector. We are dedicated to finding the best foster carers to help our children in care. We need foster carers from diverse backgrounds and cultures; because that reflects the needs of children in care. You will receive Outstanding support that truly reflects the diverse world of today.
More importantly, children and young people struggling with identity and sexuality have access to open-minded, honest, and accepting attitudes. This attitude is the difference between children being happy and accepting of themselves and their sexuality.
When barriers are removed, children and young people flourish to a better future. A future where they are guided by those who know and love them for who they truly are.
Find out more about foster care with a Not for Profit agency by contacting me on the form below. Foster carers make a vital difference in the lives of children and young people; regardless of how you identify.
As with everything in life, there are no one size fits. Often, we have an inherent desire to do the best we can, regardless of the barriers we face in life. And, for a child who seeks consistent love and care with foster carers who understand; you will identify just fine. Can you foster?