People in Rutland are being asked if they could provide a safe, caring environment for children and young people who are unable to live with their own families.
Rutland County Council is looking for new foster carers to join its team as part of this year’s Foster Care Fortnight, which runs until May 21, and is encouraging adults over 21 years with a spare room to contact them.
Fostering or foster care is a way to provide a safe, secure and caring family environment for children who can’t, for whatever reason, live at home with their parents or other family members.
Almost 40,000 children in England are currently placed with foster carers and Rutland County Council is always recruiting so that children and young people have somewhere safe to live when they need it. Foster carers can be:
l Single, married, divorced or living together
l In a same sex relationship
l From any religious or ethnic background
l A homeowner or living in rented accommodation
l Employed or on benefits
l Already a parent
l Living with a disability
Dr Tim O’Neill, director for people at Rutland County Council, said: “Fostering is an incredibly rewarding job and has a huge impact on a child’s life by giving them the care they need. Foster carers can come from all backgrounds and walks of life.
“You don’t need to have a certain income or live in a big house. The most important thing is that you’re flexible not only with your time but also your willingness to look after a child in our care.
“It’s really important that we have a good number of local authority foster carers here in Rutland. If we don’t and we can’t find a foster carer in our county, we may have to place a child in a different area, some distance away from school, friends and family – which can be hard on them.”
Fostering is temporary care and many foster children will eventually return to their families, sometimes after only a few days. Regardless of how long a fostering placement lasts, the benefit to children and carers themselves is tremendous.
Georgia has been a Rutland Foster Carer since 2011 and says fostering has brought huge rewards for her and her family.
She said: “In a just over five years I’ve taken care of eight children, ranging from newborn babies to teenagers. The shortest of these placements was 24 hours and the longest was 18 months, which gives you some idea of just how varied fostering can be.
“There are so many things I enjoy about fostering, like taking a difficult situation and making it better – helping children to overcome their anxieties and other issues. Over time we get to see them come out of their shells, improve their relationships with adults and peers and eventually blossom and thrive. It’s also been wonderful to see how my own children have matured and benefited in their roles as foster siblings.
“Improving the journey and maybe the life outcome of a vulnerable innocent child, so that they might reach their full and happy potential, is the most rewarding job there is and without question worth your best efforts. There is nothing more fulfilling than helping another.”
Rutland County Council offers professional training, guidance and financial support to all its foster carers and needs carers for children aged from baby to 18. The type of care provided depends on what support a child needs.
For more information about fostering in Rutland, visit: www.rutland.gov.uk/fostering.