St Helens Council is backing Foster Care Fortnight – the UK’s biggest foster care awareness raising campaign, delivered by leading charity, the Fostering Network.
The annual campaign aims to raise the profile of fostering and to show how foster care can transform lives. It’s also the UK’s biggest foster carer recruitment campaign, and takes place from Monday 11 to Sunday 24 May. During the coronavirus pandemic the number of children and teenagers in need of foster care is increasing.
In St Helens there is a particular need for foster carers to look after teenagers and brothers and sisters who want to stay together, but carers for young people of any age and respite carers are also needed.
Local resident Joanne has fostered young people with her own family for the past six-years years, taking on nine placements during that time.
“I cannot tell you how much of a privilege it has been to care for all our foster children and to be part of their lives,” Joanne said.
“For us fostering is a family affair and we all pitch in together to help care for whoever is staying with us. It has been a positive experience for our own children who are now older teenagers and young adults.
Joanne added: “I would urge anyone who is thinking about becoming a foster carer in the future to contact the St Helens fostering team to have a chat.
“One thing that we can be certain of in these uncertain times is that vulnerable children will continue to need a place of refuge, our love, care and understanding.”
St Helens Council offers generous allowances, training, help and advice. Applicants who take up the opportunity will be helped at every step of the way by the council’s fostering service, which has recently been rebranded with the help of children and young people in the local authority’s care.
Applications are welcome from those who are single, in a relationship, married or divorced, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. All are assessed on their own merits, and the type of care they could offer a child is the most important thing.
Applicants may have children of their own or experience gained in a care environment, or they may be keen to develop a career working with young people.
Encouraging more people to come forward to become foster carers, St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Protecting Young People, Councillor Nova Charlton, said:
“Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen some amazing acts of community spirit in our borough as part of our local response to COVID-19. Acts and gestures that have helped the most vulnerable in our communities.
“We have some very vulnerable children here in St Helens who require our support, and a good home provided by a caring foster family will go a long way in ensuring that a child or young person achieves their potential.
“If you think you can help by fostering a child or young person, I would urge you to contact our fostering team who will support you every step of the way.”
Could you foster? To help address the current demand while adhering to government guidelines, St Helens Council have moved its fostering recruitment process online.
Call the fostering team on 01744 671199 or visit fostering.sthelens.gov.uk for more information.