It’s a sobering fact that more than 50 per cent of children in care in Buckinghamshire have to be placed with families outside this county.
That’s because there simply are not enough people in Buckinghamshire coming forward to volunteer as foster parents. Some of your readers may find this hard to believe given the fact we live in such an affluent area of the country, but this is something we all need to work together to change. I am sure that, like me, most of you will find it unacceptable that so many vulnerable children and young people have to be sent miles away from familiar surroundings and friends.
And I am sure that, like me, you will find it terribly disappointing that we have, on average, 430 looked-after children at any one time here – and yet only have one foster carer per 1,000 households. The County Council has embarked upon a lengthy awareness campaign to try to encourage more people to foster. It is working, but not quickly enough, and that’s why I am appealing to Herald readers to find out more. Fostering is a career choice, where excellent support, brilliant training and an allowance will be provided. We know there are many wonderful caring residents who could be perfect foster carers, but they probably don’t realise just how rewarding it is, or perhaps just don’t know how to get started. Meanwhile, a lot of people wrongly think they can’t foster and therefore rule themselves out. If you are one of these potential parents, then why not come to one of our upcoming fostering information sessions?
The next local ones will be at Aylesbury Opportunities Centre on April 23 and Buckingham Opportunities Centre on April 30. We won’t be asking for a commitment there and then, but will be giving you the facts you need to decide whether or not it’s for you.
Please turn up and find out more. Who knows, it could make a massive difference to your life and the life of a child who needs a new home?
To book a place on the information sessions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, visit buckscc.gov.uk/fostering or call 0800 160 1900