Released: 7 May, 2020
For Foster Care Fortnight (11-24 May), West Sussex County Council will be shining a light on the crucial work they do to protect children who are most in need, especially at this time.
Jacquie Russell, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “As we make our way through these unprecedented times, I have noticed that there is much praise - particularly in the national media - for our NHS staff and care workers and rightly so. However, I have also noticed that there is very little said about the work undertaken by the nation’s foster carers.
“I’ve had the opportunity to speak with foster carers and understand the impact covid is having on their daily lives. They are by true definition our unsung heroes and we cannot thank them enough.”
John and Claire Fraher are fostering a young child with the help of their birth children Amelia, 14, Thomas, 12, and Harry, 10.
John said: “Fostering during lockdown has given us an insight into the uncertainty and fear that many children face on a daily basis. Deciding to foster is the best choice we could have made as a family, it has changed our lives in ways we never could’ve imagined.”
Claire added: “Fostering is a privilege and a joy. An opportunity to grant a vulnerable child a safe place to thrive and grow, to relax and just be a child again; to let them know that they are loved unconditionally, and that we genuinely care about their future.”
Sophie and Scott have a busy seven-child household with children aged six months to 16 years old. They foster three children, have three siblings they’ve adopted and have an eight-year-old birth daughter. Sophie was 21 and Scott 22 when they began fostering and eight months ago they transferred from an agency because fostering with the council gives the opportunity of priority placements.
“We like being busy,” Sophie said. “My mum fostered since I was seven, it made me the person I am today so I was always going to foster children.
“We like looking after babies with health needs. My husband and I work as a team, we just love looking after children and our four kids get so much out of it too.”
Sophie added: “The support we get from the council as a whole family is superb, our social worker is brilliant, if ever I need her she’s there.”
Scott Anderson and Mark Popkiewicz have only just begun fostering sibling boys and say fostering during lockdown is having its advantages for all the family (video above).
West Sussex County Council offers many different types of foster care, from short to longer term, single placements and sibling as well as parent-and-child. There remains a huge need for more foster carers in West Sussex, and sadly the result of the coronavirus pandemic could lead to more children needing foster homes.
The recruitment team remains available to answer questions and take enquiries, with initial visits now taking place virtually. Call 0330 222 7775 or visit our website, where you will find our information session online.