Drive to recruit new foster carers to plug shortageBy Victoria Corbett
May 25, 2010
An appeal for more people to take on the rewarding but challenging role of being a foster carer has been launched.
Victoria Corbett looked at why Wokingham Borough Council is using Foster Care Fortnight to get more people to sign up to help the borough’s young people.
An annual recruitment campaign to encourage local people to consider a career in fostering is being launched in the borough this month.
The drive will tie in with National Foster Care Fortnight, which runs from Monday, May 17, to Sunday, May 30.
The fortnight is co-ordinated by charity Fostering Network and is asking people to look at the skills and qualities they have which could make them a great foster carer.
Nationally, there is a shortage of 10,000 foster carers.
Andy Couldrick, general manager of children’s services at Wokingham Borough Council, said: “In the Wokingham borough we have been successful in recruiting foster carers but always need more to look after our children and young people who, for one reason or another, cannot live with their own families.
“We need more people to think about the skills and qualities they have and to consider a career in fostering.
“So if you think you have got what it takes, we would love you to get in touch.”
Judy Wheeler, recruitment and fostering support worker, said: “Fostering is a career like no other as it uniquely bridges family and professional life.
“Foster carers combine a love and desire to help children with a passion and dedication to providing the best possible care.
“We need a diverse range of people with different skills and qualities to come forward so that more children are placed in the right home, first time.”
Foster carers care for children on a short-term, long-term or respite basis.
To become a foster carer in the borough you must be aged over 21 and single, married or in long-term relationship.
You must have the time to look after a child and you will need to have a spare room for fostering – you do not need to have your own home but it must be a non-smoking household.
The council offers a comprehensive training and 24-hour support package.
Each foster carer has the support of a named supervising social worker plus the child care team.
Foster carers can also join a local support group and can take full advantage of social events in the Wokingham borough.
All that is asked for is that foster carers have patience, understanding and a genuine desire to help a child who, for that particular time in their life, needs a family.
This will help them to return to their own family or to a permanent suitable home.
During the fortnight the borough council will be manning an information stand in Market Place, Wokingham, on Tuesday, May 25, and Friday, May 28, between 10am and 4pm.
Local people will be able to find out more about fostering by talking to members of the fostering team and local foster carers.
Information leaflets can also be collected from Wokingham Library in Denmark Street.
An information session will take place at the civic offices in Shute End on Thursday, May 27, from 1pm. During the two-hour session, potential foster carers can enjoy a presentation about fostering.
To book a place call (0118) 974 6204 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.