People are being urged to open their homes to children in care in Nottingham as part of this year’s national Foster Care Fortnight which starts on Monday 15 May.
The aim is to highlight the need for more people to become foster carers to give homes to children in the city and explain the many advantages of becoming a foster carer, both for the child and the carer themselves. These include: Providing a secure and loving environment, giving a platform for academic stability, letting children experience a stable family life. Foster carers get the satisfaction of helping vulnerable children and often develop relationships that last a lifetime.
Currently, over 700 children are in the care of the city and are in need of stable, nurturing homes. Many are with the city’s dedicated foster carers but there is a pressing need for more people to come forward. In particular, the council is looking for homes for older children and also brothers and sisters sibling groups.
The council has foster carers from a wide variety of ages and backgrounds. People need to be 21 before they can start an application. The council welcomes applications from: 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.
The council’s fostering team will be out and about during the fortnight and it’s a great opportunity to chat through what being a foster carer is all about. The pop-up events will be at:
- Southglade Leisure Centre on Wednesday 17 May from midday until 6pm
- Djanogly Leisure Centre on Thursday 18 May from 10am until 4pm
- Victoria Leisure Centre on Friday 19 May from 11am until 5pm
- Harvey Hadden Leisure Centre on Monday 22 May from midday until 5pm.
On Tuesday 23 May, Stadium Leisure on Basford Road will be hosting two information events from midday until 2.30pm and another from 6.30pm until 8.30pm. The fostering team and city foster carers will be on hand to answer any queries.
The short film ‘Out there’ provides an insight into the need for foster carers. Follow the link to watch it https://bit.ly/Outthere2023
Cllr Cheryl Barnard, portfolio holder for Children, Young People and Schools, said: “Foster Carer Fortnight will really highlight the importance of the work that foster carers do and the difference that they can make in a child’s life.
“Children deserve to live in a loving and caring environment where they can thrive and simply be children. Having been a foster carer myself, I know the pressures that the service can come under and we urgently need more foster carers who can provide these nurturing homes. I hope Foster Care Fortnight will help to convince more people to take those first steps towards fostering a child.”
Audrey Taylor, service manager for fostering and adoption at Nottingham City Council, said: “We have a group of committed carers in Nottingham City who do an amazing job of caring for some of our most vulnerable children and young people during challenging times.”
You can also follow Fostering Nottingham on Facebook @fosteringnottingham
Foster carers need to provide a safe, healthy and nurturing home for a child. They need to value diversity and encourage their child or children to have a positive understanding of their origins, religion and culture. Importantly, they need to manage behaviour with appropriate boundaries
The carers need to create supportive relationships with the child or children’s family, friends and community and 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?
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.
Note: PHOTO: In 2017 shoes were placed on the steps of the Council House to represent the 615 children in the city’s care, in 2023 there are over 700