SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity is celebrating LGBT Adoption Week by reflecting on the developments of inclusion and diversity in its Adoption Service over the past year.
SSAFA runs an independent adoption agency that works with local authorities to provide support for anyone who is currently serving who wishes to create a family through adoption. The service has approved 328 military adopters since 1964 and offers lifelong support to families.
Increase in same sex military adoption
Over the past two years, SSAFA has seen an increase in same-sex adoptions.
Recent figures from the Department for Education found one in ten adopters in the UK were in a same sex relationship.
In comparison, two in seven household adoptions through SSAFA were with a same sex couple and a third of couples that attended the adoption training course in the past year were same sex.
SSAFA responded to the increase in same sex adopters with more training for its staff and adoption panel members, more literature and resources for staff and potential adopters and by forging closer links with the LGBT groups in the Army, Royal Navy and RAF.
SSAFA also became a member of New Family Social, a network for LGBT adoptive and foster families across the UK to help provide support to its same sex adopters.
New panel member
In response to the rise in same sex military adoptions, SSAFA has appointed a new panel member to support new military adopters in the matching process. Sally (surname undisclosed) is a same sex adopter through SSAFA and her partner, Zoe currently serves in the Army.
Sally and Zoe adopted three brothers, now aged 13, 14 and 19 in 2008. They were supported through the adoption process and have received support from SSAFA’s specialised Post Adoption Service, which provides lifelong support to families.
Sally will be able to bring expertise and knowledge about the realities of same sex adoption to future parents.
Speaking of being made a new SSAFA panel member, Sally said:
“I’m delighted to join the SSAFA Adoption team and to support future adoptive families with their decisions. Thanks to my experience adopting three boys through SSAFA with my partner Zoe, I hope to be able to advise on how to create more forever homes for families.”
Stonewall Diversity Champion
SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity has been made a Stonewall Diversity Champion, which celebrates a workplace that enables LGBT staff and beneficiaries to reach their full potential.
Stephen Richards, Head of SSAFA’s Adoption Service, said:
“SSAFA is absolutely delighted to be made a Stonewall Diversity Champion and being recognised for its inclusivity.
“This follows what has become an incredibly successful year in terms of supporting more same sex military couples to adopt. We will continue to work closely with agencies including Stonewall to support more same sex couples who wish to adopt through SSAFA.
“If you or anyone you know is currently serving in the Armed Forces and considering adoption, visit ssafa.org.uk/adoption.”
Speaking of the SSAFA Adoption Service, Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive at Stonewall, said:
“At Stonewall we believe we’re stronger united, so we partner with organisations that help us create real change for the better.
“We are proud that SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, is a Stonewall Diversity Champion and is taking active steps to create a culture that’s inclusive of all.
“Their Adoption Service is now receiving an increasing number of applications from LGBT service personnel which we are delighted to support.”
If you or someone you know is currently serving and would like to adopt, encourage them to get in touch with SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity. To find out more, visit www.ssafa.org.uk/adoption
Notes to editors
SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity (formerly known as the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen & Families Association), provides lifelong support to anyone who is currently serving or has ever served in the Royal Navy, British Army or Royal Air Force, and their families. This includes both regulars and reserves.
SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity provides lifelong support to our Armed Forces, veterans and their families. We began our work in 1885. This year our staff and teams of volunteers helped over 67,000 people – from World War Two veterans to those involved in more recent conflicts and their families.