Foster carers are part of what’s often termed “the team around the child” who are responsible for the wellbeing and development of a fostered child.
More than 65,000 children currently live with almost 55,000 foster families across the UK. This equates to nearly 80% of the 83,000 children in care away from home on any one day in the UK.
The Fostering Network estimates that fostering services need to recruit a further 6,800 foster families in the next 12 months. Foster Care Fortnight™ is the charity’s annual campaign to raise the profile of fostering and help recruit families.
Ilse who has been a foster carer for more than 10 years thought being single would exclude her, but she says all you need is to be patient, open and have fun. Her children are as involved and act as role models for the foster children she helps. She says: “The benefits are seeing them grow into confident children. They will ask for things and they shine, lift their chins up and become confident little people.”
Thousands of new foster families are needed every year to care for children, with the greatest need being for foster carers for older children, sibling groups, disabled children and unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. All are welcome as potential foster carers – all that matters is that you can provide a stable and caring environment for a foster child. You don’t need to be married or in a relationship, or to own your own home, and your sexual orientation or any disability should not hinder your application. Whichever route you choose to go down, you should rest assured that there is a support network to help anyone who is committed and willing to foster a child.
This year has seen the number of children looked after continue to rise in Bracknell Forest. While some can be looked after by friends or family “connected persons”, many others require a caring, local family unknown to them to give them the support they need to thrive. However, the local authority’s not-for-profit fostering service, which is responsible for finding homes for all vulnerable children from within the borough, has a shortage of carers. Bracknell Forest Foresting carers receive a weekly allowance of up to £425 per week, per child (up to £19,000 per year, per child), state-of-the-art training, 24/7 support and free use of local attractions. Not to mention the reward of helping change a child’s life.