100 foster carers needed in Devon

At least 100 foster carers are urgently needed in Devon to help ensure children receive the best start in life.

Fostering Devon, Devon County Council’s fostering service, has launched a new carer recruitment drive to increase the number of foster carers.

The more carers they have, the better the chances of finding a good match between child and carer, with the right home in the right location.

The better the match, the more stable the home which is ultimately better for the child.

Devon County Council is responsible for over 700 children and young people in foster care, and that figure continues to rise.

In addition, each year a number of foster carers retire or leave the profession, meaning that there is always a need to recruit new carers. 

Devon currently needs more carers to look after children aged 0 – 18, including sibling groups, those with disabilities and those with complex and challenging behaviour.

The Fostering Network recently released its latest foster carer recruitment targets for 2016, estimating that the South West will need 600 new foster families to come forward and provide safe and stable homes for children and young people.

To coincide with the publication of this report, Fostering Devon launched its new recruitment campaign, asking people if they can ‘foster the thought’ about becoming a foster carer this year.

The campaign uses a short film to express a series of common thoughts potential foster carers may have, including; ‘it would be a challenge but we can handle that’, ‘we have a spare room that they can call their own’, ‘with the pay available, I can afford to do it full time’.

The film asks the viewer if they have the potential to foster these thoughts, and if so, do they have the potential to foster a child?

The film is part of a targeted multi-media campaign; it encourages anyone interested to visit the website, www.fosteringindevon.org.uk, download their own copy of the ‘Introduction to Fostering’ booklet, or to get in touch for an informal, in confidence chat.

Fostering Devon is confident that the training, support and competitive rates of pay it offers carers, means that they are prepared and can concentrate on providing the best care possible for those who come through the door.

Councillor James McInnes, the Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for the fostering service said:

“Fostering Devon has grown a lot in recent years.  We have more foster carers available to provide long term care as well as emergency or respite care, but we will always want more carers to give us the flexibility to enable us to provide suitable matches.
“The carers we have are spectacular people, providing life-changing opportunities for children in our care.  We’re grateful to them and would encourage others to consider finding space in their lives to do the same.”

Kevin Williams, chief executive of The Fostering Network, said:

“Foster families perform an invaluable duty on behalf of the state, one that really serves the whole community. Their work contributes not only to society now, but in the decades that will come as the young people who live in their care grow into independence and in turn become positive adults who give back to society. Foster families give children the opportunity of the childhood that they deserve, a childhood that otherwise they may not have had."

To find out more about becoming a foster carer, visit the Fostering Devon website www.fosteringindevon.org.uk, and hear in their own words what our foster carers think about their chosen career. For an informal chat, please telephone 0345 155 1077.