Although Foster Care Fortnight may now be over, the need to recruit more carers continues and our efforts to find them carry on, so I make no apology for using this column to further help raise awareness of this vital role.
I also want to say a big thank you to all our carers who often go to extraordinary lengths to help children going through tough times through no fault of their own.
Taking a child into care is always a last resort, but unfortunately in some cases it’s a sad necessity and here in Swindon we are committed to providing the best possible care and support for those in this position.
There are currently around 160 children being supported by foster care in the Borough and, in line with a national trend, we are seeing growing demand for foster placements. As part of our Vision for Swindon, Pledge 29 declares our dedication to increase the number of foster carers in Swindon so that every ‘child looked after’ who should be, is placed in their home borough. Above all, this means the child can remain in familiar surroundings, avoiding the upheaval of moving away, and this approach is also more cost-effective.
There are various types of foster care ranging from providing emergency care for children in crisis situations, parent and child placements, long-term placements and short breaks for children with disabilities. We’re especially seeking people who are willing and able to look after teenagers and sibling groups. We also require people who can offer long-term or permanent placements, which will give children much-deserved continuity and stability.
As the borough’s population is very diverse, we’re looking for people from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds to reflect this and meet the child’s needs. It’s also important to stress that your age, sexuality, marital status and whether you have children of your own or not are no barrier to becoming a foster carer. Many of our foster carers describe it as one of the most rewarding and fulfilling things they have ever done.
We provide full training and carers receive payment and allowances to help cover their time and expenses. However, our carers do not do it for the money and society owes them a great debt for their tremendous contribution, which often goes unrecognised. The difference they make to children is truly life-changing and I encourage everyone to consider whether this is something they could help with and also to help spread the word amongst family, friends and colleagues. If you want to find out more, please get in contact by calling: (01793) 464329 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org