Staffordshire’s foster carers are taking centre-stage for this year’s Foster Care Fortnight celebrations.
Foster Care Fortnight, which runs from Monday 8 to Sunday 21 May, is the annual campaign to raise the profile of fostering and highlight the urgent need for more foster carers.
‘Proud to foster’ is this year’s message from the county’s carers to help find families for some of the county’s most vulnerable children.
To celebrate the campaign, carers from across Staffordshire have once again bravely put themselves in front of the camera. Their photos and stories will be featured on posters, videos, billboards and social media as they explain why they are proud to foster.
Throughout the fortnight, carers will also be joining ‘Reggie’ the Fostering Service’s promotional bus as it tours the county. Reggie Roadshows will be visiting the following towns:
- Stafford Market Square – Monday 8th May
- Biddulph Home Bargains – Tuesday 9th May
- Lichfield Market Square – Wednesday 10th May#
- Cannock Market Square – Thursday 11th May
- Newcastle Ironmarket – Friday 12th May
- Leek (Outside Co-op Bank) – Monday 15th May
- Burton (Outside Brantano) – Tuesday 16th May
- Tamworth, Edithas Square – Wednesday 17th May
- Uttoxeter Dovefields (Outside Argos) – Thursday 18th May
- Rugeley Market Square – Friday 19th May
Amanda Fritz, Fostering manager at Staffordshire County Council explained that in Staffordshire, a further 60 foster families were needed this year alone.
“Our foster carers do a wonderful job helping to transform children’s lives every day.
“We do have an urgent need for more foster carers in Staffordshire and Foster Care Fortnight gives us the perfect opportunity to encourage more people to come forward. And, once again it’s great to see our own foster carers being the stars of the campaign. If fostering is something you’re considering then please do come along to one of our events and hear first-hand from real foster carers what a rewarding thing it is to do.”
Karen Turner from Newcastle said
“I’ve been fostering for 14 years and it’s an absolutely great thing to do. It isn’t always easy and has it’s challenges but there is always plenty of help and support available.
“I’d definitely recommend people go along to the fostering information evenings, you get to meet other foster carers and hear exactly what’s involved. You’ll also get the chance to talk to staff about all the great training that is available too.”
Cathie Toon from Cheadle said:
“Fostering is a really wonderful thing to do and I really encourage anyone who’s thinking about it to come and join us at one of our roadshows and events. It’s a great way of finding out exactly what’s involved. Fostering isn’t always plain sailing though and there will be challenges along the way. But it is great to see children grow and learn new things. And, the positives always outweigh the negatives.”
Brian Cooke from Biddulph said
“We considered becoming foster carers for many years and after talking to a foster carer at an information evening we eventually took the plunge and became foster carers ourselves. We’ve now been fostering for five years and it has been very rewarding and worthwhile.
“I’d definitely encourage people to come forward and become a foster carer. It’s a great thing to do and at the end of the day you can see the difference you made for that child, and the life that child can have.”
Teana Henry from Stone specialises in fostering sibling groups and said:
“I’ve been fostering for eight years now and have loved every minute of it. I think it’s important that siblings stay together and it’s fabulous to watch them grow up together.
“Fostering is something that will change your life and if you are thinking about it then I would encourage you to get in touch and take that first step.”
Tina Thatcher is a supported lodgings host from Stafford and said:
“I’ve been a foster carer for many years before starting to specialise in supported lodgings which is a type of fostering. It’s a bit like a bridge supporting young people between leaving foster care and living independently. Leaving care can be a real shock for some young people and this scheme helps them adjust and learn the skills to be able to live independently. The young person lives with you for around 12 months and during that time you’re passing on vital skills like cooking, cleaning and household budgeting etc.”
Tanya Budd from Lichfield said:
“The most rewarding thing for me is how much the children change while they are with you and how much they appreciate what you’re doing for them. It’s wonderful to see all their achievements, no matter how small, like succeeding in school and in life in general.”
Dawn Guy from Tamworth said:
“I have been fostering for 8 years now and mainly foster teenagers.
“Fostering is such a great thing to do and I find it really rewarding especially when you see vulnerable children grow up to be strong independent adults with children of their own. It makes fostering the greatest job in the world. There’s also lots of support and training available from Staffordshire’s fostering service too, so there’s always help and advice when you need it.”
Sally Hayward from Uttoxeter also specialises in looking after sibling groups and said:
“Fostering a child is really rewarding but when you have brothers and sisters growing up together it can be even more special. “It’s challenging getting them ready for school in the morning but it’s great fun.
“At Staffordshire carers we also have an amazing support network and we have our social worker who supports us as well as lots of great training opportunities.”
Anyone interested in becoming a foster carer can find out more at www.care4child.org, or by calling 0800 169 2061. People can also sign up for the Fostering service’s e-newsletter on the website.
The following information evenings with a chance to meet local foster carers will also be taking place:
- Thursday 11 May, 7pm, Burton Town Hall, Burton on Trent, DE14 2EB
- Wednesday 24 May, 7pm, Staffordshire Place 1,Stafford,ST16 2LP
- Wednesday 7 June, 7pm, Roman Way Hotel, Cannock, WS11 1SH