More foster carers are urgently needed to provide loving, stable family homes for children in Nottingham.
Around 600 children and young people are currently in care with Nottingham City Council. More foster parents would allow more children to be placed with families where they can grow and learn.
The appeal for more people to take their first steps into fostering with Nottingham City Council marks the start of Foster Care Fortnight (16-29 May). Nottingham City Council will be out and about in the city centre encouraging people to find out more about fostering.
Drop-in sessions are being held in Nottingham Central Library where the fostering team will be available to answer any questions people may have:
- Wednesday 18 May, 12pm-2pm
- Friday 20 May, 12pm-2pm
- Wednesday 25 May, 12pm-2pm
- Friday 27 May, 12pm-2pm
Foster carers are needed for children of all ages – as well as those willing to give a safe and caring home to vulnerable teenagers or to offer a short-term placement to a disabled child.
Councillor David Mellen, Portfolio Holder for Early Intervention and Early Years at Nottingham City Council, said: “Foster caring is a challenging yet immensely rewarding experience, and carers often describe it as the best thing they’ve ever done,”
“Our foster carers come from a wide range of backgrounds and family make-up, but what they all have in common is their desire to provide a secure and welcoming home for some of the county’s most vulnerable children.”
“People often think they can’t foster because they are single, work, or are too old, but none of these things matter. We’re looking for people who have space in their home – and their heart – for a young person and can offer them a positive and loving home environment. By becoming a foster carer, people have the opportunity to change a young person’s life for good.”
Many children who come into care have experienced years of neglect, which can impact their physical and emotional development. It can also mean they haven’t experienced the simplest pleasures in life like celebrating their birthday, cooking with other family members or going to the seaside.
As part of Foster Care Fortnight, Nottingham City Council is using the voices of actual foster carers to tell people about their real experiences of fostering in a bid to attract more local people to become foster carers.
Mark and Sharon have been fostering for nearly two years. They have fostered three children long term and two emergency and respite children of varying ages.
At the moment they are caring for three children, including two sisters aged 13 and four, who have been with them for nearly 18 months. The couple say during this time the girls have become a part of their wider family, there were a few difficult times during the first month where we had to understand their concerns and make them feel needed, they are now settled happy children enjoying a confident life.
They also have another girl aged 12, she came to them through respite originally and eventually came back to them full time again, since her arrival she was very introvert and did not mix well, she has settled in to our family life and is more outgoing joining in with all activities.
The couple say it’s very rewarding to see the children happy and the way they are progressing in a healthy life.
Mark explained: “Fostering is one of the most rewarding things you can do. You can make a real difference to children’s lives. Our social worker is so supportive, and the network of other foster carer’s is great.
“Our message to anyone thinking of fostering is – do it. If kids are struggling through life and you can offer them support – what better thing is there to do?
“We’ve never regretted doing it for a minute, although there have been some difficult times. But when I can see they are in a good place – happy and smiling and full of laughter… well, knowing you are making a difference is just priceless. So please give it a go and Foster with Nottingham City Council.”
Nationally, the theme of Foster Care Fortnight is ‘Time to Foster, Time to Care’ which highlights that every 20 minutes across the UK a child comes into care in need of a foster family. This equals more than 1,000 children and young people during Foster Care Fortnight alone.
During the two weeks, people in Nottingham are being encouraged to join the social media conversation using #FCF2016 and #FosterNottingham.
To find out more about fostering please contact the City Council’s team on 0115 876 3335 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, answerphone available out of hours) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information is also on our website www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/foster