Foster carers in Nottingham are using social media to try to get more people to look after children in care.
Carers in the city will take to Twitter and Facebook for two weeks in June to share their experiences. They want to reach out to people who may have thought about fostering but aren’t sure how it would fit into their lives.
From 1 June, carers and fostering teams in Nottingham will give potential new carers all the information they need to decide whether fostering is for them.
This recruitment campaign runs alongside the national Foster Care Fortnight (1-14 June), which is promoted by The Fostering Network charity.
As well as social media, events are being held where foster carers will be available to answer any questions people may have.
Councillor David Mellen, Portfolio Holder for Early Intervention and Early Years at Nottingham City Council, said: “Our dedicated foster carers are everyday people from a variety of backgrounds and cultures who have the space in their homes and their hearts to provide the care which looked-after children in Nottingham so desperately need.
“I am proud of the hard work which is being done to care for children in Nottingham. However, with so many children currently in need of care in Nottingham and long-term foster carers retiring from fostering, it is vital that we make a special effort to reach out to potential new carers.”
More carers are needed to give loving homes to brothers and sisters and children over 11 – especially to older teenagers. There are nearly twice as many boys age 12 and 13 requiring care compared to girls of the same age.
The City Council is the agency that provides for the needs of children coming into care in Nottingham. There are currently around 490 children and young people who need foster care.
People can follow the social media conversation during Foster Care Fortnight on MyNottingham Facebook and @mynottinghamTwitter, use #FCF2015.
Sheila has been fostering teenagers and siblings for nine years.
“I think everyone should do it, It is nerve wracking and you need to be a good listener and showing love and affection are important. I give lots of praises and hugs and can be silly with them too.”
She currently fosters three siblings and says it’s important to keep families together: “I come from a family of seven. If they were still at home they would be together. It’s sad that they’ve had to leave their home so why should they be split up?
“Even if they don’t always show it when they’re with me, they often come back and tell me what a difference I’ve made. You get to reminisce and see how far they’ve come. That’s why I keep on fostering.”
Gill and her husband Dick have been fostering teenagers since 2011.
“We said to ourselves, ‘We’ve got a lot to give, why don’t we put something back?’
“We now have two girls of similar ages and they get on great together. They see each other as sisters and whilst they fall out as all children do they also stick up for each other, and they really do feel part of a proper little family.
“Some of them don’t know what feeling safe is like. Being in the dark reminded them of bad things happening. The day they could finally sleep with the light off was the day we knew we had made a positive difference to their life.”
Foster Carers like Sheila and Gill and Dick offer potential carers a real-world picture of fostering, and can help with genuine fears and concerns about what it might be like. They can also talk about all the support they’ve receive from Nottingham City Council
Interviews with Nottingham foster carers are available on the City Council website www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/love
To find out more about fostering please contact the team on 0115 8763335 (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/love