Plymouth supports Foster Care Fortnight 2017
Plymouth City Council’s Fostering team is on a mission to find people with time, energy, motivation and a spare bedroom who are able to care for some of Plymouth’s most vulnerable young people as part of this year’s Foster Care Fortnight campaign (Monday 8-Sunday 21 May).
Foster Care Fortnight is a national campaign which raises the profile of fostering and encourages more people to consider this rewarding career.
Nationally, 9,070 new foster families are needed in the next 12 months alone to care for a range of children, with the greatest need being for foster carers for older children, sibling groups, disabled children and unaccompanied asylum seeking children.
The overarching theme of Foster Care Fortnight 2017 is 'foster care transforms lives'.
The theme reflects the idea that foster care doesn't just transform the lives of the young people who are fostered; it also has the power to change the lives of foster carers, their families and all those who are involved in fostering.
Fostering can be for as little as a few weeks or a few months until a child is able to return home to their family or longer term until a child grows up and is able to move on to independence.
Councillor Terri Beer, Cabinet Member for Children Young People and Families said: “Foster carers have one of the most important roles in the community. They support local families and make a huge difference to people’s lives. Fostering is about ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
“You don’t need to be superhuman to be a foster carer you just have to want to make a difference in vulnerable child’s life. We provide you with full training and support and a generous financial allowance. Our foster carers help to turn children’s lives around. That’s an amazing contribution to our local community and the lives of our young people.”
Foster carers can be single or couples; with or without children, retired, unemployed or working. What matters most is that potential carers have time, space, commitment, patience, a caring nature and skills to work with children and their families.
“Fostering is immensely rewarding,” said Madge, a foster carer with Plymouth City Council.
“You can have difficult days. Many children who come into care find it difficult to trust and have confidence in the adults around them. As a carer you help promote self- confidence by sharing your life, home and providing opportunities and experiences that hopefully enable each child to reach their full potential,” She added.
Madge speaks positively about the fostering service and commented on the support that has been available to them throughout her time as a foster carer.
“You have so much support from the local authority. It’s not like you are left on your own to deal with things, there is always someone there to help, 24 hours a day” Madge said.
“But you have to go in with your eyes open; there are some very difficult times but being a foster carer is amazingly rewarding.”
Madge is encouraging anyone who is passionate about providing support for children and young people to contact Plymouth City Council and discuss the possibility of becoming a foster carer.
Alison Barker, Service Manager for Family Placement, said: "There are still many myths about who can foster but all that really matters is that carers have the time, commitment, space and personal qualities to offer a secure and stable home to a child or children who have been separated from their birth family. We all know that a childhood is too short to waste and we’re looking for people who can open their home and heart to a child who has had a difficult start in life and to help them to reach their potential.”
Full training and support is given to foster carers, who are matched to one or more of the different foster care schemes, depending on what suits their lifestyles and commitments. Carers are also paid an allowance and receive a competitive fostering fee.
Anybody interested in finding out more about Fostering for Plymouth can contact the fostering team on 01752 304067 or visit www.fosterforplymouth.co.uk