Throughout my days of being out in the community talking with people about fostering I have found that there are many misconceptions about who can foster, writes Cheryl Keller, assistant team manager in the Family Placement Team at Swindon Borough Council (pictured).
There is no such thing as a typical foster carer. They come from all different backgrounds. But they all have one thing in common – they care about children and want to help them through a difficult time in their lives. They also need to have a spare room.
Foster carers can be single, married or in same-sex partnerships. Some have children of their own living at home, some don’t. Foster carers must be at least twenty one years old and there is no upper age limit as long as they are fit enough to look after a child.
We have a range of fostering options available including short-term, permanent and respite. We run two speciality schemes:
• Home and Away Overnight Short Breaks scheme for Disabled Children;
• Supported Lodgings which provides support to young people aged 16 to 21 years who are making the transition out of foster care to a form of independent living within a family setting.
Foster Carers are provided with ongoing training and an allowance and there is someone available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to call and talk with.
Please consider fostering as we need a diverse range of people to come forward to meet the needs of children and young people in care. 2012 could be the year that you make a difference to a child who needs your support.
For details of becoming a foster carer, see the advert on right.