With children back at school, or teenagers off to university, many parents can feel ready to take on a new challenge.
As part of its latest campaign to fill the urgent need for foster families, Staffordshire County Council is asking people to consider fostering as the next step in their lives.
Staffordshire needs 150 foster families over the next three years, with a particular need for carers for teenagers and sibling groups.
Now, the county’s fostering service wants to hear from anyone interested in becoming a foster carer.
Mark Sutton, Cabinet Member for Children at Staffordshire County Council, said:
We are always looking for foster families to come forward and there’s no such thing as a typical foster carer.
“With children back in school and teenagers flying the nest and off to university, it can be a time when people think about doing something different with their lives or taking on a new adventure or challenge.
“Most people can foster. You simply need to care about children, have good communication skills, have a spare room and be ready for that challenge. You don’t have to be married, you can be pretty much any age and you don’t need to own your own house too.
“Fostering is making a real difference to the lives of hundreds of children in Staffordshire every day. And when we talk to our foster carers they tell us it’s a hugely rewarding and satisfying thing to do. Attending one of our informal fostering information events could be your first step to becoming a foster carer and I would encourage anyone thinking about it to go along.”
Cliff and Elaine Whiteley are Staffordshire foster carers. Cliff said:
We’ve been fostering for over 15 years now and it’s a really wonderful thing to do. I don’t think I’ve ever done a job that’s as satisfying as it is. The training and support is excellent and you’re never on your own. You’ve got teams of professionals with you the whole way to help you do what’s best for the child. When you see how much the children you look after have changed years later or see them happier and having a better life it lets you know you’ve made a real difference. I’d definitely urge people to try it.”
People interested in becoming a foster carer can find out more at the fostering information events, by visiting www.care4child.org or by calling 0800 169 2061.
Fostering information events:
- Thursday 22 September 2016, 7pm, Staffordshire Place 1,Stafford, ST16 2LP
- Wednesday 5 October 2016, 7pm, the Seabridge Centre, Newcastle, ST5 3UB.
Notes for editors
Some common fostering eligibility myths
“You need to own your own home to foster a child.”
You do not need to own a house. All that matters is that where you live is safe and happy. If you rent your home you only need to ensure your tenancy is secured for the foreseeable future.
“You are too young or too old to foster.”
There is no upper age limit for fostering.
“You cannot foster if you are single.”
You don’t have to be married or in a civil partnership to foster. Every year many single people and unmarried couples both straight and gay successfully foster children.