Nottingham City Council is looking for people who want to make a difference to the lives of children and young people in care by becoming foster carers.

The appeal for people to take the first step to finding out more about fostering comes at the start of the national Foster Carer Fortnight campaign (8-21 May 2017).

Fostering is looking after somebody else’s child in your home, when they are unable to live with their family. This can be for a short period or on a longer-term basis.  Nottingham City Council is looking for more foster carers to become part of the fostering community to care for children and young people who need support either for a few days, a few months or to see them into independence and adulthood.

Just over 600 children and young people are in care in Nottingham. More foster parents would allow more children to be placed with families where they can grow and learn.

Helen Blackman, Director of Children’s Integrated Services at Nottingham City Council, said: “We need to recruit more foster carers in Nottingham to keep our children closer to their schools, families and friends. The number of children and young people that need our support is growing. The City Council is responsible for children in care in Nottingham all of whom need loving homes – some short-term care and some for a longer time. That’s why we need more people to join our fostering community to help make a difference to the lives children and young people.

“I would urge caring, interested people to visit our website, call our fostering phoneline or come along to one of our information evenings to find out more about what this involves Our fostering team will also be out and about at different places throughout the fortnight so please stop and say hello.

“You may have been thinking about fostering for a while or it may be something you are hearing about for the first time. Foster Care Fortnight is the ideal opportunity to find out more about fostering and think carefully about offering a stable, loving home to a child or young person. Please take that first step today to finding out more about fostering with Nottingham City Council.”

You can find out more about fostering at the city council’s website or by calling 0115 876 3335. You can also find the fostering team on Facebook by searching for @fosteringnottingham.

The next fostering information evening is Wednesday 10 May at Loxley House, Station Street, Nottingham, NG2 3NG from 6.30-8.30pm. Please come along and find out more.

A special information is also being held at St Nic’s Church on Maid Marian Way, Nottingham, on Tuesday 16 May at 7.30pm.

Case Study: Will and Sue

A couple who have fostered more than 100 children in the last 30 years are now urging other people to come forward and make a difference to the lives of children and young people.

Sue and Will from Clifton believe fostering is the best way to give a stable, loving home to children in care.
Sue said: “Fostering is something I’d always wanted to do when I was younger. I’d had friends who’d lived in children’s homes, so since that time it was something I wanted to do to look after other people – especially children – rather than being in care.

“Will and I thought about it and talked about it and although Will wasn’t keen we went along to a couple of meetings and from then on we were both hooked. It’s the best thing we’ve ever done.”

Will added: “Over the years we’ve fostered over 100 children – some for a few days, some for a few weeks; and some that come for a couple of days and then last for years. It has been really varied: we’ve had lots of long-term placements that come in until they’re 18 and we’ve also had emergency placements that come in overnight.”

Sue said: “Our best memories are giving kids love and care, and taking them on holidays – it’s just about making them happy. You know you’ve done something really good.”

The couple now specialise in fostering newborn babies. “Some of the best memories for me are with the babies,” said Will. “The little one we have now cheers us up every day. Even if you’re feeling down, you take one look at the baby and she makes you smile – every day! What could be better than that?”

What makes a good foster carer?

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 6 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.