People that want to know more about fostering with Wiltshire Council are being invited to an online information session this month.
The online event will be on Wednesday 26 January at 7pm and people can join here.
Since May 2020, Wiltshire Council has been running a campaign to recruit 100 additional foster carers by spring 2023 to help ensure young people who need a loving home have the support they need to face life and its challenges. More than 50 foster carers have already been recruited but more are needed – particularly to foster teenagers.
The information session is an opportunity to find out about the fostering journey, from the first query to welcoming young people as a foster carer. There is information on the ongoing support from a supervising social worker and training as well as payments. It’s also an opportunity to hear from foster carers in Wiltshire themselves.
Craig and Kim have fostered for almost a year with the council. Craig is a vicar in Wiltshire and Kim runs a community café. They have been foster carers for just over a year and have three birth children aged 13 to 20 years.
Craig said: "We've talked about fostering for a long time but never really got round to it because we always thought we were too busy with our own life and our own kids. In the first lockdown we had a bit more time to get our heads around the idea of fostering and started the process of applying to be foster-carers. We started fostering in 2021 and in our first year had three children stay with us, each one of them was very different.
“Fostering teenagers is particularly challenging but also incredibly rewarding. Sometimes it breaks your heart because you know what these kids have been through and you also can see what they have missed out on through no fault of their own. The initial 'kick-back' you often get is because they don't want to be hurt again and we are learning to get beyond that because what they really long for is to be part of your home. Providing a safe place and inviting someone to be part of your family is one of the greatest gifts that you give someone else. We are new at this and still have lots to learn but I'd encourage anyone who is thinking about it to give it a go. There are so many children and teenagers who urgently need fostering. Don't wait as long as we did!"
Cllr Laura Mayes, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “January is a month where people think about resolutions and life choices. We know there are people out there who have considered fostering but may be reluctant to take that first step. The information evening is a chance to find out about the different types of fostering and how we support you to be a foster carer.
“We have many children and young people in Wiltshire who need a safe place they can call home. This online session is an opportunity to find out more and see if fostering is for you – either now or in the future.”
People interested in becoming a foster carer must:
· Have a spare bedroom
· Be over 21 years