Fostering a new life

The current shortage of foster homes and carers in the UK currently stands at over 10,000 according to The Fostering Network.

To compensate for the shortfall, the Network runs an annual recruitment drive, Foster Care Fortnight, designed to raise awareness of the need for more foster carers and crucially secure participation from those of you who’ve already been thinking about fostering but not yet taken the plunge. This years’ campaign will run from 12 to 25 May.

Towns in the north east and north west have the biggest deficit of children to carers. However, willing and enthusiastic fosterers are needed all over the UK and there are several boroughs in and around London currently doing their bit to encourage potential parents to step up during Fostering Fortnight. Tower Hamlets, Brent and Enfield boroughs are currently seeking carers to provide short-term placements for children from the ages of eight to 18.

Can I be a foster carer?

“Sharing the care of a child with their parents and the council is a challenge that Tower Hamlets foster carers meet exceptionally well,” says Laun Bowman, Recruitment Co-ordinator for the Children’s Services Team for Tower Hamlets Council. “[Attracting] gay and lesbian foster carers is explicit on all our marketing material. However, what is most important when considering being a foster carer is your wealth of life experience, willingness to work with children, patience, tolerance and your enthusiasm for life. It is also vital that you are able to share your home and life with others.”

Paula Stacy for Enfield Fostering shares Bowman’s views: “Potential carers need to consider if they can actively promote the educational life of a child together with social and family life. To this end its important that your willingness to travel and maintain links is at the forefront of your mind, as your commitment may well need to last over a year until the child’s plan is complete.” Each fostering services’ unique family finding team will determine your suitability for child placement on a case-by-case basis.

What help will I get?

Foster carers receive regular support from their local fostering and adoption service and are also offered parental training, job skills and generous allowances. There is so much support and opportunity as a carer many adopt fostering as a long-term career.

For more information on Fostering Fortnight or foster opportunities in your area, visit www.fostering.net Also:

For Enfield: www.enfield.gov.uk/fostering or call 020 8379 2831
For Brent: www.brent.gov.uk/adopfost.nsf/Pages/LBB-1 or call 020 8937 4538
For Tower Hamlets: www.fosteringandadoption.co.uk or call 0800 279 9850

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