Release date: 10 May 2021
Foster carers have been sharing their stories of giving children a safe, loving home for Foster Care Fortnight (May 10-23).
The theme this year is #WhyWeCare and West Sussex County Council will be using the fortnight to celebrate the vital work our carers do and promoting the urgent need to grow our fostering family in West Sussex.
Anyone considering fostering is invited to book their place on an online information session taking place on 25 May 2021.
Mark and Scott from Crawley began fostering two young boys just before the first lockdown in March 2020. Mark said: “The best things about being a foster carer? I have to say it’s being able to see that you’re making a difference to a young person’s life. You get to see them grow and develop, and ultimately have a happy and fulfilled childhood.
“If you’ve got a spare room and you’ve got a lot of love to give and you think you can make a difference to a child’s life, then do it. It’s something that we wish we’d done a lot sooner.”
Natalie Wainwright, 25, from Worthing has been fostering with West Sussex County Council for nearly three years and currently cares for a young girl. Natalie said: "When you make room in your family for a child who has experienced trauma, there will be challenges for sure. But there is no better feeling than being the one who gets to celebrate them, show up for them, empower them and see them flourish in spite of every obstacle. There's nothing I would rather be doing."
Natalie is one of our single carers and we welcome applications from individuals and couples alike. We are looking for people from different backgrounds to match the diverse experiences of the children we care for.
Barry Kirwan is the County Council’s new Fostering Service Lead. Barry has been fostering himself for 10 years and during the pandemic has supported three parents and their children – a type of fostering the County Council offers. Barry said: “I would like to say a huge thank you to every one of our fantastic foster carers who offer vital support and a loving home to a child who needs it.
“During the pandemic, more and more people have been finding out about fostering with West Sussex County Council which is fantastic. However, the reality is that more children are coming into our care due to the impact of COVID-19. So the need for more foster carers in West Sussex has never been higher and we would love to hear from people who enjoy working with children, have a spare room and want to make a difference.”
In a recent survey of our foster carers, the majority rated the Council’s fostering service 10/10 for the support they receive.
West Sussex County Council has just introduced new, enhanced allowances for people who can provide two or more children with a safe, loving home and for those who foster a parent and child. Full training and ongoing support is provided to every carer, who will benefit from being part of the biggest network of foster carers in West Sussex.
If you are interested in fostering, you can contact the council’s recruitment team on 033 022 27775 or find out more and register your interest at www.westsussex.gov.uk/fostering
Throughout Foster Care Fortnight, West Sussex County Council will be sharing more stories and videos from our fantastic foster carers on social media. Follow @FosterWSCC on Twitter or like the Fostering in West Sussex Facebook page