A new foster care service that aims to match LGBTQ+ young people with supportive carers and families has been launched in the South East of England. Apex Q, a service from agency Apex Fostering, hopes to provide safe and loving homes for queer kids who are disproportionately represented in the care system.Embed from Getty Images
According to Apex Fostering, LGBTQ+ children make up the majority of the homeless population under the age of 18 in the UK. Many of them face family rejection, abuse or being asked to leave home because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Apex Q wants to change that by encouraging more LGBTQ+ foster carers and creating more placements for queer youth.
“We want to make sure that every queer young person has a home where they feel safe and loved, where they can be supported to become their amazing, wonderful self,” said Apex Fostering’s chief executive, Sali Walker, a lesbian who grew up in care.
Apex Q covers north and east London as well as several southern counties, including Hertfordshire, Essex and Cambridgeshire. It launched in 2021 and claims to have already placed more than 60 young people with foster families. The agency helps prospective carers – whether as a family or a single person – through a process of assessments and checks to be matched with a child.
One of the foster parents who joined Apex Q is Ricardo, a gay man from Essex who lives with his partner Bradleigh. They recently welcomed a 15-year-old boy into their home and said they have been enjoying the experience.
“A home is a home… it doesn’t matter if you’re a man and a man, a boy and a girl. [The child] just needs stability… just needs care. It just needs routine. That’s all the children need,” Ricardo said.Embed from Getty Images
Apex Q also provides training and support for its carers and staff on LGBTQ+ issues and best practices. The service works closely with other organizations that advocate for queer rights and welfare, such as Stonewall and Mermaids.
One of the young people who benefited from Apex Q is Jamie, a 17-year-old trans girl who was placed with a lesbian couple after being kicked out by her parents. She said she felt accepted and understood by her foster family and that they helped her with her transition.
“They were amazing. They helped me get on hormones, they took me shopping for clothes, they taught me how to do makeup. They treated me like their daughter,” Jamie said.
Apex Q hopes to expand its service to other regions in the UK and inspire more people to become foster carers for LGBTQ+ youth. The service believes that by providing queer kids with positive role models and nurturing environments, they can help them overcome trauma and achieve their potential.
- New foster care agency matching LGBTQ+ kids with queer carers to become ‘their amazing, wonderful selves’ by Emily Chudy, PinkNews, 4 May 2023
- Apex Q: The new foster care service for LGBTQ+ young people by Sarah Williams, BBC News, 5 May 2023
- How Apex Q is changing the lives of LGBTQ+ foster kids and carers by James Moore, The Guardian, 6 May 2023