City council appeals for more foster carers

Nottingham City Council is appealing for more caring people to become foster carers to give children the gift of a loving, stable home. This may seem like a big step but all great journeys start with a small first step.

The appeal comes ahead of Fostering Sunday (10 May) when church and faith leaders across the city will talk to their congregations about the value of love and caring for children. Churches leaders and the city council will be able to support families who want to take that first step.

Foster carers are always needed – but the Covid-19 crisis has made many people realise the importance of family and community. The city council wants people to be inspired to help others, and to think about stepping forward as foster carers.

Fostering Sunday takes place ahead of the national Foster Care Fortnight, which begins on Monday 11 May. The message to anyone thinking of fostering is to come forward and find out how important it is to change a child’s life.

The benefits of giving a loving home to child through fostering include:

Providing a secure and loving family

Giving a home for academic stability

Experience of family life that sadly some children have not had the opportunity to share in

Knowing that you have made a life-changing difference a vulnerable child and often their family

Developing a relationship that can last a lifetime

Cllr Cheryl Barnard, Portfolio Holder for Children and Young People, who is also a local authority foster carer, said: “The last seven weeks of lockdown have shown Nottingham at its best in the way that we have looked after each other and shown care and compassion to those who need it.

“It’s never been more important than now to make sure we have foster carers who can provide a stable, loving home for children in our care.

“Our Nottingham City foster carers are inspirational and I am so glad to have them caring for our children.

“We are so grateful to all of our churches and wider faith community for all of the help they have given and for being there to help families who start this journey with us.

“Despite lockdown, the city council has managed to hold ‘virtual’ information evenings where people can find out more about becoming a foster carer. I would urge people to watch our next event broadcast on 20 May and take that next step towards changing a child’s life.”

Fostering Sunday is being led by the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham and will help to promote the 100 Homes appeal, which has been organised by Nottingham City Prayer to help Nottingham City Council find 100 foster carers for children in the city in three years by reaching out to different churches and faith groups.

There are now around 650 looked after children in Nottingham. Nottingham City Council currently only has around 60% of the fostering families it needs to meet demand, particularly for older children and brothers and sisters sibling groups.

People over the age of 21 can foster. The council works with:

Individuals and couples of any sexual orientation (married/divorced/living together/same sex/civil partnership)

People with or without children

Disabled people

Home owners or tenants

Working and unemployed people

Any religious faith or no faith

All racial and ethnic backgrounds

Cllr Barnard added: “Opening your home and your life to vulnerable child is one of the greatest gifts that someone can give back to our City and children who need you. This is a vocation and we would love to talk to anyone who feels moved to offer a child a home. I’d urge people in Nottingham to consider whether this is something they could offer or support.”

The next virtual fostering information evening with Nottingham City Council is on Wednesday 20 May, 6.30-8pm. To find out more about the online event, visit www.fosteringnottingham.com

For more information on Foster Care Fortnight, visit www.thefosteringnetwork.org.uk/get-involved/foster-care-fortnight

Fostering with Nottingham City Council

Fostering may be unlike anything you have ever done before. It is very rewarding as you see the children grow and develop and perhaps go home when their situation has improved or move on to a permanent family.

Foster carers need to:

Provide a safe, healthy and nurturing home for a child

Show personal warmth to adults and children

Value diversity and encourage the child/ren to have a positive understanding of their origins, religion and culture

Understand other people’s points of view and feelings, and to be sensitive to others

Enable children and young people who are moving on to do so in a positive manner

Listen to children

Manage children’s behaviour with appropriate boundaries

Create supportive relationships with the child/ren’s family, friends and community

Value a child’s history and its importance to them

Frequently asked questions about fostering

Q: I have children of my own, can I foster?
A: Yes.

Q: Can I foster if unemployed?
A: It does not matter if you are working or not, we are looking for people who can offer a caring family. We do ask about family finances but this applies to working applicants too.

Q: Am I too young or old to foster?
A: If you are over 21 and can provide a stable and caring home, you can foster. There is no upper age limit.

Q: Is fostering only for married couples?
A: No. We welcome people who are married, single, living together or in a civil partnership.

Q: Can I foster if I’m gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender?
A: Yes. We welcome applications from couples in same-sex relationships or single, gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender people. We also welcome people from culturally-diverse backgrounds.

Q: Can I continue working?
A: Yes. If you work full-time there are some types of fostering that may be more suited to you than others. This will be discussed during your assessment. Part-time working is fine too.

Q: How long does the assessment process take?
A: It takes on average six months from application to approval to become a foster carer. For carers transferring from an independent agency this time is reduced.

Q: Will I get paid as a foster carer?
A: You will get paid a generous weekly allowance which varies according to the child’s age and number of children you foster. There are some additional payments to cover the costs of birthdays, other events, equipment and mileage.

Q: I would find it too difficult to handle when a child leaves my care.
A: This is a normal and natural reaction, as foster carers will get attached to the children in their care. It is exactly these type of individuals, who will provide a nurturing home for children in care, that we want as our foster carers. All of our foster carers have an allocated Fostering Social Worker who will provide a lot of support, especially when a child moves from your care. A number of our foster carers remain in contact following their move.

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