Fostering – it’s all about supporting children in your community

Foster Care Fortnight 2021 (10 - 23 May) will be celebrating the role of foster carers and how they are supporting vulnerable children in our community. Seven in ten children in care in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole live with foster carers. That is a monumental achievement every single day by those foster carers to keep our most vulnerable children safe and secure. We celebrate the work of foster carers every year and this year it is important we acknowledge the extra pressure on children, young people and their carers as a result of living through the year of the pandemic, with its well-publicised stresses for families.

For the next two weeks we are highlighting the need for even more foster carers. We continue to need carers to meet the needs of children in care locally as some foster carers retire every year. These are two reasons why we need more – and why we need you – either yourself or someone you know well who you think can do it.

“For most of the children who come into our care, being able to remain close to their existing network of school, friends and extended family is crucial for their stability and wellbeing,” said Elaine Redding Corporate Director Children’s Services, BCP Council. “We’re looking for those special people in our community who can add to that by acting as their mentors or advocates – providing the understanding, support and care they need to put their lives back on track or to give respite to a local family under pressure.

“That can be on a permanent basis or for a matter of days depending on the carer’s circumstances and other commitments.”

“Our carers play a wide range of roles, including providing short-term and long-term care, emergency care and respite care for children and young people who are disabled. We also offer supported accommodation for young people leaving the care system which allows our carers to hold down other jobs if they wish, or to fit fostering in with other family or caring responsibilities.

“We also have carers who are more comfortable with looking after children of a certain age or gender – and we will fit in with what works best for them.

“At the moment we particularly want to recruit more carers for siblings, teenagers and mother and children, as well as supported lodgings placements for young people aged 16.”

The theme of this year’s Foster Care Fortnight is #WhyWeCare. Councillor Mike White, Portfolio Holder for Children, said:

“The theme fits in perfectly with how our local communities have really demonstrated their caring and public-spirited side over the last year. Along with the many negatives of COVID-19, it has allowed us to show we care by looking out for our neighbours, and I have been overwhelmed by the support and compassion shown by our residents.”

“Becoming a foster carer is one way in which you can really build on that by using your time and life skills to make a huge difference to a local young person’s life. Being a foster carer can make a hugely positive difference to your own life – and that of your family too.

“Your age, gender, orientation, ethnic background, what sort of house you live in… none of these are what we worry about. Neither is it important if you’re married, single or in a relationship, or how much you earn… none of these are barriers. The foster carers we look for want simply to provide a child or young person with a stable, supportive home.

“You’ll receive a generous package of fees and allowances, a bespoke training package and will be supported every step of the way by a network of experts and specialists.”

If being a foster carer sounds like a way in which you can support your local community – and enrich your own life along the way – then simply call 0800 009 3084 and speak to a member of the fostering team or apply online at bcpfostering