Foster carers needed to help families in Syrian refugee crisis

As Nottingham people prepare to welcome refugees following the recent government announcement, more foster carers will be needed to care for unaccompanied children arriving here in response to the Syria crisis.

Foster carers will be able to provide care and nurture for vulnerable young children brought in to the UK as they already do for many children in need here.

Three million people have so far been displaced from Syria in a bid to escape civil war and the exodus is thought to be one of the largest forced migrations since the Second World War.

In response, the UK is likely to see up to 20,000 refugees from Syria come in to the country over the next five years, with priority being given to vulnerable children and orphans. No figures have been set for Nottingham so far but the City has always played a full part in accommodating refugees fleeing violence and persecution and works closely with voluntary sector organisations to achieve this, such as the Refugee Forum and Nottingham Citizens’ group.

Nottingham City Council is keen to offer support to vulnerable children and young people including those from displaced or emerging populations. Fostering is a way of providing long-term support and the opportunity to be part of a family in the UK.

Cllr David Mellen, Portfolio Holder for Early Help and Early Intervention, said: “The Syrian refugee situation is a massive humanitarian crisis and many people in the UK and in Nottingham will be touched by the personal stories of those involved and will want to do their bit to help. If Nottingham wants to do its share to help, we need to prepare ourselves now by recruiting and training sufficient approved foster families who will be able to meet the demand.”

The process of becoming a fully approved foster carer can take from six to eight months and includes medical and family references and vetting. This process is essential to meet the safeguarding needs of vulnerable children and foster families. So we need to accelerate our recruitment of foster carers so that we are ready to welcome children over the next few months.

To find out more about becoming a foster carer for Nottingham City Council, please call 0115 876 3335 or visit http://www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/foster where you will be able to book onto one of our regular information evenings.

Foster carers provide a vital role, enabling vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people to thrive and develop in a stable and loving family environment. Many children coming into care will have suffered abuse or neglect or may have very specific needs. In addition, those who have experienced disruption in their family life may have behavioural or emotional difficulties.

Nottingham City Council’s Fostering and Adoption Service urgently requires foster carers for children of all ages, but particularly those who may have experience of working with children in their early teens or who have special physical, emotional or educational needs.

Nottingham City Council is particularly keen to recruit foster carers from a wide variety of cultural and socio-economic backgrounds to provide a broad base provision for the city both now and in future years. We urgently need carers who have the skills and ability to offer both short and long-term homes to sibling groups and older children as well as meeting the cultural needs of emerging communities in the city.

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