At this time of year, many well intentioned people have found that their New Year resolutions are already broken or ‘off track’, however achieving a positive change in 2015 is still possible! The Foster Care Co-operative is encouraging people across England and Wales, to consider becoming a Foster Carer.
There are many different types of fostering for potential Foster Carers to get involved with for example, we need carers who can offer both short and long term care and we are seeing a particular increase in the need for placements for sibling groups, teenagers and PACT (‘Parent and Child Together’, which is typically a young parent and a baby).
Kim Perkins, Registered Manager for Wales said, “Many differing types of people have the potential to become Foster Carers and I’d definitely like to encourage more to come forward. Unfortunately there are still many misconceptions and stereotypes about who is able to become a Foster Carer. The truth is that we welcome applications from anyone whether they are single, married, in a civil partnership or in a long term partnership and co-habiting; there are no upper age limits, a health issue or disability won’t necessarily mean someone can’t be considered and not all foster carers have children themselves or own their own home.
I recognise that some people may be nervous about applying to foster, especially if they don’t know that much about what it involves. However, I would encourage anyone who thinks they might be interested to contact us as our experienced Social Workers offer a high level of support to fostering applicants at every stage of the process and will be more than happy to provide further information and answer any questions. People applying to foster with us will also have the opportunity to speak to our existing, experienced Foster Carers.”
Rose aged 55, who has been a Foster Carer for The Foster Care Co-operative for 9 years said, “I wondered if I would be accepted to become a Foster Carer as I am a single woman. I was concerned that a more traditional family setting was the only one that would be considered. I was reassured that this was in no way considered a disadvantage – in fact for some children a single female carer may be the best match to meet their individual needs.
The rewards are numerous, too many to list, but you do get an overwhelming sense of pride and a feeling of fulfilment. I have been able to help so many initially frightened children and witness their development and watch their confidence grow.”
Statistics issued by the Government in September 2014 showed that 30,430 children began being looked after during the financial year ending 31st March 2014, with an average of 1 child being taken into care every 15 minutes and it’s anticipated that an additional 550 foster carers are needed in Wales and 7,350 in England to meet with the demand.
Many of the children and young people who become looked after have had a very challenging start to their lives and need a lot of help and support to help them move forward. As demonstrated by Rose’s comments, many of The Foster Care Co-operative’s Foster Carers find that Fostering can be a very rewarding career as in providing the children and young people they care for with support and a safe and stable home, they have a chance to make a real difference to their lives.
One of the young people looked after by The Foster Care Co-operative (Jade aged 16) said, “My past was full of regrets, my Mum never helped me, I didn’t belong. I felt like running away was the only choice, and my only regret was leaving my brothers and sisters behind. However, now that I’m in care, my grades have improved – I even won a national writing competition. I’m happy with my new foster carers, and I’m even building a relationship with my mum.”