Community

Room To Spare?….Foster Care

Room-To-Spare-featured

Do you have room to spare to foster care? This is the question Peterborough City Council is asking residents as part of a campaign to recruit more foster carers

With over 300 children in care in the city, the council needs to recruit at least 40 more foster carers to provide these children with a safe and happy home while they are unable to live with their own families. The campaign was launched in Queensgate in August – with a dedicated fostering recruitment stand plus an eye-catching spare room display courtesy of John Lewis.

Over the next two months, recruitment stands will be in the following prominent locations in the city where people can find out more details and learn firsthand from our foster carers what it is like to care for someone else’s child:

Saturday 20 October – Serpentine Green Shopping Centre

■ Saturday 17 November – Sainsbury’s Bretton

■ Sunday 25 November – Van Hage, Peterborough Garden Park

Ann Garratt, Peterborough City Council’s Head of Fostering, said

We are running this campaign at a time of year when children are going off to college or university and their parents have not only a spare room and spare time on their hands, but are interested in giving other children a good start in life. We hope this campaign will make people consider whether they can give their spare room to a child in need of a caring and supportive home. We urgently need supportive and caring foster carers of all ages, from all backgrounds and ethnic groups. Fostering today involves a variety of tasks and skills and we will provide you with comprehensive training to take on such an important role. As well as training, all our carers will receive high level support and guidance, a fee and a weekly allowance for each child that is fostered

People From All Walks Of Life Are Needed Regardless Of:

● Marital status

● Gender

● Age

● Sexuality

● Employment status

● Or whether or not you already have children of your own

We also welcome applications from people with disabilities. We are primarily interested in the ability and skills you have to offer to children in Peterborough. We ask that you have a spare room and a genuine interest and enthusiasm in helping local children and their families.

DIFFERENT TYPES OF FOSTER CARERS ARE NEEDED:

Emergency response: short notice carers for just a few hours up to 72 hours

Time limited: ranging from one night to a few years

Respite care: short break for carers, two to 14 days

Part time link care: short break for children with disabilities for a few hours or a weekend

Long term: provide a permanent home for a child to grow up in with the opportunity to keep in touch with their family

Specialist: experienced carers to meet a child’s complex health and/or challenging behavioral needs

Brothers and sisters: caring for two, three or maybe more siblings.

Mother and a baby: some mothers need support and people who can teach and encourage them

FOSTER CHILD CASE STUDY

Hi I’m Karl and I’m 15, nearly 16.IlivewithTonyand Sally. I’ve been here since I was nine. My Mum and Dad didn’t care for me and my younger sister well. They took drugs and drank too much. Sometimes we didn’t even have any food to eat. Then one day the Police came round to talk with my Dad and we were taken to Tony and Sally’s house. It was funny at first, clean, tidy, even the lightsworkedandthe television. We had lots of food and it was lovely, we had some fruit which I have never seen before. My bed was clean and so were my clothes. I liked being with them but didn’t like school. I found it hard and couldn’t concentrate.

I missed my Mum and Dad. I got in trouble and was behind with my work. Some of my friends made fun of me and I hit one of them. I stayed at home with Tony and Sally for a while and then we all went into my school for a meeting. They made a plan for me to have help with my work and I visited someone who would find out why I couldn’t think for long or write properly. Tony helps me with all my homework now and everyone now knows why I struggle which is  good. I enjoy school much more and am taking my GCSE’s next year which is more than I ever thought I would. Tony and Sally have given me a great home, lots of laughs and some tears and lots of experiences I don’t think I would have had. They are not my real Mum and Dad, but they are better than them.

FOSTER CARER CASE STUDY

Fifteen Years ago Hazell Greenwood was reading an article about foster caring in a magazine when it occurred to her that she and husband John – a fireman at the time – would make ideal foster carers. They had a daughter of their own, who was then four years old, and has grown up with lots of foster brothers and sisters around her. “She has never really known any different and has now gone into a caring profession herself,” said dad John. The couple have three foster children who have been with them for more than 12 years – since they were four, six and seven. “It’s all about keeping your feet on the ground, making sure you talk to one another and team work. When young people arrive here they have to understand they are part of a team and we all pull together,” John remarked. “We think of it as nurturing,” Hazell joined in. “Everybody has a voice and we take their views into account and we make it clear that their views do count. We always have an evening meal together and we do activities together, take today for instance when we went to Ferry Meadows for a picnic. One of our foster children says that we are her parents – but we are not her mother and father – and that makes sense for us.”

Both Hazell and John  have found their role as foster carers so rewarding.

Hazell continued: “There are some wonderful times and it is so rewarding to see them nurture and grow – to become themselves. We prepare them for the outside world after all they are tomorrow’s adults and we have to try to get it right.” Asked what type of person makes a good carer, John replied: “They have to have ‘lived a little’ if you know what I mean! But just ordinary men and women like us who understand the meaning and value of family, who have a good outlook on life, can see the good in people and who can empathise and show understanding. It’s about intuition, finding your level – that’s the key.”

If you are interested in finding out more about Fostering in Peterborough telephone (01733) 317427, email or visit www.peterboroughfostering.co.uk, quoting where you heard about it.

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