Residents across Bath & North East Somerset are being asked to consider whether they could offer a stable, secure foster home to a young person in care.
Despite an increase in enquiries from people considering fostering during lockdown, there are still more than 180 children currently being looked after by the council and the number of children needing foster homes continues to grow.
Sarah and James having been fostering for the council for the past two years. Sarah said: “We decided to become foster carers to provide a child who hasn’t had a great start in life with a loving caring family.
“It really is fantastic to see the impact you can have on a child, to watch them grow and develop and develop bonds with you and the extended family.
“Of course fostering can be challenging, having to pick up the pieces after disappointments or dealing with issues at school, but these challenges are outweighed by the rewards such as hearing a child say thank you and that they appreciate everything you have done for them.”
Children and young people of all ages and from all backgrounds come into care when they are unable to live with their birth parents for a period of time.
This can range from a few weeks, for example when a family is in a short-term crisis, to long term placements with children being provided with a home and supportive family for as long as they need.
Foster carers can transform a young person’s life, as sixteen-year-old Claire explained in a letter to her foster carer of two years: “You gave me a second chance in life, and I am so thankful. You always make room for me to talk to you and you support everything I do.
“You always remind me that life is hard, which it is. You are always there when I need to rant about things. I see you as someone I want to grow up and be.”
Foster carers come from all backgrounds and bring a wide range of life and work experiences.
Children in care are very likely to have experienced traumatic periods in their early lives and foster carers are trained and supported to develop the skills needed to meet the needs of children in care.
Councillor Kevin Guy, cabinet member for Children’s Services said: “We currently have 183 children in care across Bath and North East Somerset and while we had a big increase in enquiries from people interested in becoming foster carers during lockdown, we still have an ongoing need for more carers to give children a stable family environment.
“By fostering a child through the council, you enable them to stay living close to the people and places they have always known. You can make a huge difference to a young person’s life giving them a safe and secure home life.
“At the moment, we are specifically looking for carers that can look after adolescents, parents and children together, disabled children and those who can provide respite to families in need. However, we also welcome general enquiries.
“If you think fostering could be for you please consider taking your first step towards becoming a foster carer and making a difference to a child’s future.”
To become a foster carer you must:
- Be at least 21 years-old
- Have a spare bedroom big enough for a young person to live in
- Be a full-time resident in the UK or have leave to remain
- Be reasonably fit – physically and emotionally. However, disability isn’t a barrier to fostering.
You can be of any religion or from any cultural background. Your relationship status or sexuality is not a barrier to becoming a foster carer.
If you are interested in fostering and would like to find out more visit: https://fostering.bathnes.gov.uk/.
You can contact the Family Placement Team by calling 01225 394949 or by emailing [email protected]