Childcare chiefs are on the hunt for caring people who could make a difference to the lives of children in the care system – in particular, those who can take on teenagers, siblings and under fives.
The call from Bucks County Council coincides with Foster Care Fortnight, from May 12 to 25, and the annual UK-wide awareness campaign co-ordinated by the Fostering Network to raise its profile and highlight the need for more foster carers.
There are currently 450 youngsters in the Bucks care system, and this year’s campaign theme is “guess who fosters”, which aims to challenge stereotypes over who can and can’t foster.
Bucks County Council’s cabinet member for children’s services Angela Macpherson said: “There are many myths about fostering and people may think they are not suitable – perhaps because they do not own their own home or because they work, but these are not barriers.
“Or if you have ever thought about fostering to adopt, Foster to Adopt carers from all types of social and economic backgrounds are always welcome as the children within our care who need adoptive families have a such a diverse range of needs. We want to make fostering as accessible as possible for everyone.
“The foster families we have do a fantastic job in providing homes, stability and security for thousands of vulnerable children. But we need more of them and Foster Care Fortnight is a great chance for people to come forward to see if they have the skills to foster.”
Suzanne Littler has been a foster carer for three years, taking on children aged from babies to five years. She said: “We started when our boys were nine, 12 and 14 years old and I was considering returning to work.
“I was keen to be around for the boys when they came home from school and to be available if they needed me. Fostering seemed to fit the bill. It has given me a career in making a significant difference to a child’s life, working alongside other childcare professionals, undertaking training and growing in understanding of human behaviour and also of myself.
“It’s been lovely to see our boys enjoying playing with and caring for the children we’ve fostered. They have enjoyed being a part of seeing these kids heal and develop. They have learnt so much through fostering and it really feels like a team family job we do together.”
To find out more about becoming a foster carer, email the First Step Team at email@example.com, call 0800 160 1900 or visit www.buckscc.gov.uk/fostering.