Wiltshire Council is sharing first-hand experiences of what it’s like to foster, as the campaign to recruit an additional 30 foster carers by summer 2024 ramps up.
May marked the start of Foster Care Fortnight and throughout the two weeks the council shared quotes from foster carers and provided online drop-ins and face-to-face events. The council has recently increased its rates of payment for foster carers and wants people to know they are supported to be a foster carer.
Kate has fostered for a number of years and more recently with Wiltshire Council as a carer receiving children into her care on an emergency basis.
She mostly fosters teenagers and recounts one incident where the 15-year-old she was caring for came back and looked flat after a difficult week at school. Despite the rain outside she lit the fire pit in her garden and asked him if he wanted to come down, listen to music and sit by the fire. They did that for three hours.
She said: “I sat back and thought ‘this is fostering.’ That was three hours of his life where I stopped him from feeling the way he was feeling. This is why I foster because it was enough to make that difference to that boy that day. It can be emotionally challenging but the rewards are there. Some of the really little things you do can be massive achievements and you just know you’re helping in a small way.”
Kate has advice for people who want more information: “If you are thinking about it you’re already halfway there.
“There must be something in you that cares if you can help children in care. I would say make a list of every question you have as there are so many myths. Don’t think you can’t do it – speak to someone at Wiltshire Council.
“There is no pressure and you’ve got nothing to lose. If you’re caring, patient and resilient it could be the right move for you. You won’t be on your own and you’ll have support and training and make new friends with it.
“There is such a shortage of foster carers and so many children who have suffered traumas who need caring homes and kind foster carers so please help if you can.”
Wiltshire Council will be holding online information drop-ins during Foster Care Fortnight which is a national campaign. The next events will take place on these dates:
● Monday 22 May, 10-11am
● Wednesday 24 May, 12-1pm
● Wednesday 31 May, 6 -7pm
Cllr Laura Mayes, cabinet member for Children’s Services, said: “The number of children coming into our care continues to rise which means we always need more foster carers. Back in 2020, we started a campaign to recruit 100 foster carers.
“We have recruited 70 new foster carers and need another 30 to come forward and make that amazing difference to a young life.
“People like Kate are providing inspiration and adding untold value to a young person who may have gone through terrible trauma and need a warm home, a safe place to stay and someone to listen to them.
“We have recently increased our fostering rates as we recognise times are hard and people need to be supported to foster.
“Pick up the phone or email us and we’ll give you more information without any commitment – we’d love to hear from you.”
Fostering for your local council means all money is spent on frontline services and the child is more likely to be able to stay close to their school, friends and family networks.
The council increased its fostering rates from April 2023 – they range from £380 to £710 a week per child, depending on people’s skills and experience.
Foster carers need to be over 21 years of age, have a spare bedroom, time to care for a child and a willingness to care and seek to understand young people who have experienced trauma and loss.
You can join the online information session via https://bit.ly/3ISra7l