Members of the LGBT community are being directly targeted as potential adoptive parents for the first time by Tameside Council this week.
The move comes as the Council stages events at libraries in Ashton and Hyde, urging adopters to come forward as part of National Adoption Week (October 31 to November 6).
Although same-sex couples have adopted in the borough in the past, the decision has been taken to make an explicit appeal to the community as others may not be aware they are able to become adopters.
Adoption Team Manager Jean Carey said: “It’s so important that people know they are allowed to adopt.
“All that is needed is a stable, healthy environment for the child, or children, and the love and kindness of whoever is looking after them.”
Ms Carey said the idea of appealing to the LGBT community came as a direct result of feedback received at the Adoption Team stall at Manchester Gay Pride Festival this August Bank Holiday.
“We found that people just didn’t know they were eligible to adopt,” she said, “It’s something that couldn’t be further from the truth, and we want to make sure we get that message out there.”
The Council Adoption Team are using the information events, where people can come to find out more about the adoption process and meet adoption social workers, to promote the idea of adoption being open to people from all walks of life.
Tameside Council approves on average 15 to 20 adopters a year.
From April 2010 to March 2011, 15 adopters were recommended by the adoption panel and there were no applicants who were not approved.
Tameside Council’s Executive Member for Children and Families Councillor Allison Gwynne stressed that the onus was on helping a child to thrive in a new family.
She said: “There are no blanket bans in adoption, so please don’t think we’ll turn you down because you’re over 40, single, or don’t own your own home.
“What we really need are people who can offer a child or sibling group a loving and supportive family for life.”
The Manchester Lesbian and Gay Foundation welcomed Tameside Council using National Adoption Week as an opportunity to raise awareness that adoption is open to all.
A spokesperson from the Lesbian & Gay Foundation said: “Many in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities do not realise that they can access adoption services if they are interested in starting a family.
“All people, whether they are LGB&T or heterosexual, single or in a relationship will be considered as potential adopters, and these events are the perfect way of finding out more information.”
The first event was held at Central Library, Ashton, on Monday, with the second taking place tonight (Wednesday) at Hyde Library, Union Street, Hyde, from 5.30pm to 7.45pm.