PEOPLE interested in fostering are being asked to help give a child a new start in 2021 as part of a countywide campaign.
Every day in Staffordshire more than 700 children live with over 420 foster families because they are unable to live at home.
Some of the children may have experienced neglect and abuse, or have witnessed domestic violence or substance misuse. Whatever their experiences, all of them will be suffering the trauma of being separated from their own families and will need love, support and stability.
This is where foster carers can help, says Staffordshire County Council’s Fostering Service who are behind the latest drive.
A series of virtual information events and online live chats will run throughout January and February. Here, people will get the chance to talk to real foster carers about what’s involved and the support package available to them.
Mark Sutton, Cabinet Member for children and Young People at Staffordshire County council explained that foster carers were ideally placed to give children their first positive experience of family life.
“Staffordshire has a wonderful group of foster carers who do a fantastic job every day, even when facing a global pandemic. But, with high numbers of children still in care, we need more people of all backgrounds to come forward and foster, especially for teenagers, children with disabilities and sibling groups.
“We are looking for people who can offer children stability, consistency and a loving family home where they can develop and grow. All our carers receive a fostering allowance, and we provide full training, ongoing support and access to a support network of other foster carers.”
Staffordshire foster carers Ashleigh and Tom Dallison have been fostering for 9 months and are now encouraging other families to consider it.
“I’ve always wanted to foster as my background is working with children and families in foster care and witnessing the impacts that Foster carers can have.
“During the pandemic we have cared for and supported the transition of a child to their adoptive home. This was extremely rewarding as we have watched a child grow and develop as well as a new family being made. It’s early days yet on our fostering journey but it’s going really well. Our advice to anyone thinking of fostering is, go for it and make those enquiries – it will be the best decision you will make! “
“Most people are able to foster; there’s no upper age limit, you don’t need to have a job or own your own house and you don’t have to be in a relationship. People can also foster a child on a short or long-term basis; just at weekends or school holidays.
Staffordshire County Council’s Fostering Service is rated as ‘Good’ by Ofsted for the support it offers to carers. The service is aiming to recruit a further 60 families over the next twelve months.
To get started as a foster carer with Staffordshire County Council or for details of forthcoming virtual information events visit www.fosterforstaffordshire.co.uk or find them on Facebook.
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On 4 January the Prime Minister announced that England was to enter a National Lockdown, meaning that we should all stay at home.