Local care leavers help to encourage more people to become foster carers
13 May 2019Today marks the start of Foster Care Fortnight (13 – 27 May), the UK’s biggest foster carer recruitment drive, led by the charity, The Fostering Network.
Cheshire West and Chester Council, along with neighbouring local authorities, is highlighting the continuing need for foster carers to help look after local children and provide them with the best start in life.
This year’s Foster Care Fortnight theme is change a future, which aims to highlight the positive differences that foster carers can make to the futures of young people in care.
Foster4, the new shared foster carer recruitment service for Cheshire West and Chester Council, Cheshire East Council, Halton Borough Council and Warrington Borough Council, is featuring stories on their website of eight local young people who have been fostered.
Naomi, 19, is one young care leaver who shares her story, she said: “‘I was 17 when I spent six months in foster care. As soon as I met my foster carer, Laura, I felt we got on really well. We have similar interests so I felt we were a good match. My first impressions were really positive; Laura was approachable, kind and caring.
“Laura was a single carer, so it was just us two and her cat. I enjoyed spending time with her, she brought me out of myself and made me feel more confident. I was given the freedom to spend time with my family if I wished.
“Laura was very supportive and helped me to find a job by helping with my CV and encouraging me to apply for roles. She also helped with practical things such as cooking and learning how to budget and pay bills, something which I’m grateful for now I’m living independently. More importantly, Laura helped me to be a better person. I still see her now and she remains a real source of support in my life.”
Sean was just seven when he first came into care. Now 23 he wants to encourage more people to foster and help local children, he said: “‘I lived with emergency foster carers for about a month, then came to live with Pam and Norman. I stayed with them ever since that day. We became a family and when I was 16 we finalised their legal guardianship of me. They are my parents.
“I’m now in my third year at Uni, studying theatre and performance at UCLAN. They’ve encouraged me to fulfil my dreams of becoming a theatre director, supporting me with my A-Levels, choosing a university and always making sure I knew that their home was my home, for the rest of my life. I’m passionate about spreading the word to encourage more people to foster, particularly older children who might need a stable family to be a part of permanently.
“Last month I came third in the Coram Voices writing competition, with my piece called The Unintentional Gift, which aims to show young people that coming into care can be a very positive thing. I don’t know what my life would have been like had Pam and Norman not welcomed me into their family, but I do know that it would be nothing like it is now.”
Emma Taylor, Director of Children’s Services at Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “Our care leavers’ stories show what a difference our foster carers have made to their lives. We currently have 167 fostering households who foster directly with the Council and do an amazing job helping to care for some of our borough’s most vulnerable children and young people. But, with over 240 children in foster care in the borough, we need even more local people to come forward and foster with us.
“We want every child in the borough to have the best start in life and we are looking for people who can offer a stable and secure home to help us do this. We provide all our foster carers with exceptional training, ongoing support and a competitive financial package.”
Could you help change the futures of young people too? As part of Foster Care Fortnight, Foster4 is looking for people that have a spare bedroom and can welcome a local young person to be part of their family on either a short or long term basis. You could foster around your existing job, if you have one, as long as you can be flexible, or you can make fostering your primary role.
Read more about the care leavers stories and request an information pack at: www.foster4.co.uk or call: 01925 444100 to find out more. Find Foster4 on Facebook @foster4cheshire. Follow #changeafuture on social media.