What’s stopping you from getting involved in foster care? Whether you work full-time or you’re approaching retirement, you could make a difference.
West Sussex County Council is appealing for residents considering fostering to come forward and discover how their skills could support a child this Foster Care Fortnight (8-21 May).
In West Sussex around 650 children live with foster families who provide them with love and support during a difficult time in their lives.
The County Council is stepping up its recruitment drive and is on the lookout for residents committed to making a difference to a child or young person’s life.
Martin, a foster carer from West Sussex, said: “When our family became foster carers seven years ago, we had little sense of how it would change our lives. At times, it has been tough. But we are proud to be part of an exceptional community of people committed to giving children the best start in life.”
Fostering involves supporting a child or teenager who is unable to live with their birth family on a short term or longer term basis.
Residents are being reminded that a looming retirement needn’t deter them from applying to foster in West Sussex – there is no official upper age limit.
Being a foster carer doesn’t have to be a full-time job.
Supported lodgings is one way to support a young person alongside working full-time. Offering a young person supported lodgings helps them to develop the skills to live independently and can be a good way to get involved with fostering in a less time intensive way.
Clare Spencer, Group Manager for Fostering Recruitment at the County Council, said: “Our ultimate aim is to find children foster homes near their existing community. We need foster carers all over the county who can provide a secure and caring environment for our children.
“By fostering for your local authority, or becoming a supported lodgings carer, you will benefit from support provided by experienced local social workers and regular training opportunities.”
Residents are encouraged to come along to an information evening to learn about supported lodgings and the day in the life of a foster carer.
Two mid-week information evenings are being held on Wednesday 10 May (supported lodgings) and Tuesday 16 May (fostering), at the County Hall North offices, in Horsham, from 6:30pm to 8:30pm.
Crawley Library is staging an informal fostering drop-in session on Friday 12 May between 10am and 2pm giving potential foster carers the chance to speak to a member of the Fostering and Recruitment Team in a relaxed environment.
For an informal discussion based on your situation, contact 0330 222 7775 or find out more via www.westsussex.gov.uk/fostering.