An independent fostering and child care service, which operates in Swindon, has received a prestigious industry award for a second consecutive year.
Five Rivers Child Care, a social enterprise which specialises in foster care, has received the Investing in Children Membership Award (IIC Award) for the second year running. The award gives organisations national recognition for their work in actively including young people in dialogue that results in change.
Five Rivers, which has an office in Gloucester, has been commended in a report by Investing in Children, a children’s human rights organisation, for various projects and initiatives that involve young people making decisions which directly impact on their experiences in foster care.
One initiative, Five Rivers’ regional and national youth councils, was highlighted in the reports as being imperative to “placing young people at the heart” of the social enterprise’s work. The youth councils involve groups of children and young people meeting to discuss their experiences of foster care, arrange social and community-based events and plan creative sessions where other looked-after children can express their thoughts and feelings artistically.
Martin Leitch, head of fostering operations for Five Rivers Child Care, said: “We’re so proud of our foster carers and regional teams who work through the year to provide support and loving homes to children and young people who need them most.
"To receive the IIC Award for a second consecutive year is testament to them, but also to the shared resilience, brightness and drive to succeed demonstrated by our children and young people in care.”
There is currently an estimated shortfall of 540 foster families across the south west, and Five Rivers is looking to recruit foster carers to help support children and young people in need of a loving home.
Mr Leitch added: “Foster care is open to people from all walks of life, providing they have a spare room and they are over the age of 21. We are always keen to speak with people who would like to learn more about opportunities to support children and young people in their areas.
"Foster care is a chance to provide someone with a loving home and a strong foundation for future success. For us, that’s the reward that matters most.”
For more information about fostering opportunities with Five Rivers, visit www.five-rivers.org/fostering, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0345 266 0272.