School’s out and your children may be heading off to college or university. If your home is going to seem empty without them, and you feel you have more to give, why not consider fostering?
More than 350 people have asked about becoming foster carers since Calderdale Council launched its latest recruitment campaign in January 2014.
That’s a record number for the Council, but it still needs more people to come forward, especially to foster teenagers. So it’s stepping up its campaign to highlight the benefits of fostering older children, using a mixture of social media marketing, posters around the borough and adverts in local newspapers.
People thinking about becoming foster carers are invited to an information evening on Wednesday 17 September 2014 at Halifax Town Hall from 7.00pm. Staff from the Council’s fostering team, as well as foster carers who look after teenagers, will be there to answer questions.
The government is now supporting young people remaining in foster care until the age of 21, by ensuring foster carers are financially supported until this time. Previously foster carers were only supported financially until the young person reached 18.
The change came into place in April 2014, and to support this, the Council is working to recruit foster carers who have the skills and enthusiasm to look after older children, supporting them through their teenage years to become independent, in a safe and loving home. You’ll need to be patient and have a sense of humour as well as being able to work effectively with other professionals.
Calderdale Council runs support groups for foster carers, where they can share information and advice. Each fostering household has an allocated social worker who provides support on a regular basis, and all Calderdale foster carers have access to the Council’s fostering training sessions.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, Cllr Megan Swift, said:
“A significant number of young people who need foster care in Calderdale are teenagers, so we’re particularly encouraging people to come forward who can provide the skills required to look after children in this age group.
“Fostering teenagers can be a challenge, but local foster carers consistently tell us how hugely rewarding it is. Helping them to develop confidence and independence, and to build a future, makes a massive difference to young people and fosterers alike. Wherever possible, we want to make sure that teenagers don’t have to change schools, which is why we want as many people as possible to come forward locally.
“Of course, we’re also looking for foster carers for children and young people of all ages, so if you can offer support and stability to help youngsters reach their full potential, please get in touch.”
To see for yourself the real benefits of fostering in Calderdale, and to register your interest, head to www.calderdale.gov.uk/fostering or call 0845 245 6000.
Young people can make enormous progress whilst in foster care, as Jenny’s story shows below.
Jenny* from Calderdale went into foster care when she was at primary school. She is now in her early 20s and studying to become a teacher. She says:
“Being fostered has opened up so many doors for me – opportunities that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I’ve been successful in my education and now I’m one step closer to my dream of being a teacher.
“I lived with my foster carers for about seven years. We have a great relationship and I still see them now. They’re the first people I go to if I need advice – they’re always there for me. They treat me as their daughter and I see them as my parents. I’m so grateful to them. They gave me stability when I needed it most, which meant I could focus on my education and work in part-time jobs. They gave me a childhood, encouraged me to join out-of-school clubs, built my confidence and taught me respect.
“To anyone thinking of becoming a foster carer, I would say that not only could you help a young person grow into a mature adult; you could also have one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.
“To people being fostered, I know it can be hard when you’re young, but fostering can open up many new opportunities and experiences. It helped shape who I am today, and I know I can succeed in life.”
*Name has been changed.