Appeal for more foster carers

An appeal is being launched in Cornwall for more Foster carers, as the number of young people in care has increased to almost 500 across the county.  The campaign is being launched, by Cornwall Council and the aim is to recruit an additional 40 foster families by the end of the year, which will be able to offer a loving and nurturing environment for young people.

Across Cornwall there is a diverse range of young people in care and this means foster carers need to come from a variety of backgrounds and have different life experiences. The children range in age from newborn to teenagers, and some are sibling groups but like all children, they need to be part of a family where they are nurtured and feel safe.

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Nicky is one of Cornwall Councils foster carers: “The best thing about being a foster carer is seeing children who have had a difficult start in life begin to flourish and having the opportunity to open a new world of possibilities for them to help  build a picture of themselves as resilient and effective individuals.

“But you have to be realistic as well;foster caring is “extreme” parenting. Children in care have all suffered separation and loss and our most important job is to help them feel safe and secure. Traditional parenting methods of rewards and sanctions very often don’t work and they require empathetic parenting to help them succeed.”

Cornwall Council has foster carers who have been looking after children for over 20 years.  Some have had many children who have returned home or moved on to adoption or special guardianship. Others have provided safe and loving care for the whole of the child’s childhood.  And some beyond 18 years – just like any family.

With Fostering Fortnight just over one month away, information events are being planned across Cornwall for anyone interested in having an informal chat.

Nicky added: “Make sure that the time is right for you personally and that you have the time, energy and commitment to give to the role. Given time, warmth and support, these children and young people can really develop and reach their potential as individuals.”

The shortage of foster carers in Cornwall is not unique, The Fostering Network estimates that fostering services across the UK need to recruit a further 6,800 foster families in the next 12 months.

Portfolio Holder and Cabinet Member for Health and Well Being, Sally Hawken, said: “There are many reasons why a young person may come into care, but we need to be prepared to support these often vulnerable young people when they need us most.  Foster carers come from a variety of different backgrounds and you don’t need any particular skills or experiences, but you do need to have a passion for helping young people.

“Foster carers receive training and support to help them develop the skills to meet the needs of children in their care.”

According to data from the Fostering Network there are currently 83,000 young people in care across the UK, with almost 55,000 foster families.

Fostering is a way of providing a safe and secure home for children who cannot live with their own parents. Often, this is on a temporary basis while the parents get help to sort out problems.

Sally continued: “Children often return to their parents after a period of being in foster care, as long as it is clear that the issues that brought them into care have been sorted out, and that their parents can look after them safely.  Other children stay in foster care on a permanent basis, some are adopted and some move on to live independently.

“A child born in Cornwall has the right to grow up here and we are dedicated to enabling that and this is why we are launching this campaign. Currently we are particularly looking for people who can care for older children as well as sibling groups.”

This young person, who cannot be identified, says that Fostering has had a major impact on her life: “Being in foster care has changed my life in multiple ways, one is letting me go to school and another is letting me try new things.  I have now danced for 5 years and I really enjoy it.

“I get treated like my carers own children. The wonderful net of people around me are amazing, I know that I can trust them and I know that they care about me.”

Fore more information please visit our Fostering and Adoption pages.

 

Story posted 12 April 2019