The hunt is on for more foster carers to look after children in Knowsley as part of a region-wide recruitment campaign.
Knowsley is one of 23 local authorities backing the #youcanfoster campaign which aims to address the North West’s fostering goals, which includes finding 700 new local authority fostering households.
The campaign aims to dispel some of the misconceptions about children in foster care as well as those around who is eligible to foster – and attract more people like you to step forward and find out more.
Across England around 52,000 children and young people are in foster placements, 9,000 of them in the North West. Around 3,400 families foster for their local authority – and if you think you have what it takes to foster, Knowsley Council wants to hear from you.
Knowsley needs more foster carers
Securing a stable home environment for foster children is vital if they are to have the best chances in life and realise their ambitions. You Can Foster hopes to replenish the numbers of carers in the region, to replace those who retire from the role and to cope with an increase in the numbers of looked after children.
Knowsley currently has more than 30 children and young people awaiting foster placements – so the council was keen to lend its support to the campaign and urge local people and families to step forward and find out more.
What is it like to foster?
Kathy and Derek Lewington, from Knowsley, have fostered nearly 150 children.
“I can’t talk enough about how rewarding foster care is; it’s the chance to really make a difference to a child’s life.
“We got into foster care in 1976 and we don’t intend to stop any time soon, we love it.
“We had a young family when we started fostering for Knowsley but we wanted to also give other children who often have nothing, the opportunity and support to become who they want to be.
“We’ve really enjoyed fostering siblings, keeping brothers and sisters together has been something that we are especially proud of.
“Children who have come into our care are often scared, things are different for them, we do things another way to what they are used to, and this can be scary for them. These are children who have often lost their childhood and have no confidence. We find that by speaking to them, and reassuring them that we are on their side, and want to help them that they feel more relaxed.
“We just love seeing them grow into really confident and happy people, it really is one of the most rewarding things you can do.”
Peter Murphy, Knowsley Council’s Assistant Executive Director (Children’s Social Care), said:
“In the UK as whole and even just the North West, we have thousands of children who need foster care and we need more carers to provide the support and stable homes that these young people need to really thrive.
“People have a lot of preconceived ideas about why they might be ruled out as foster carers but the only thing that matters is the support you can offer the child. Whether you are older, single or never had children, you can foster. Foster carers don’t need superpowers, they just need to be able to provide a solid and reliable foundation for children and young people to find theirs.”
“If you are interested in fostering then your Local Authority is the best place to find out more. More people turn to their Local Authorities than any other fostering provider. Foster carers across the North West are benefiting from the support and training they provide.”
In particular Knowsley would like to hear from you if could care for:
Brothers and sisters – including sibling groups of three or more children/young people.
Older children/young people – over half of all looked after Children are 10 or older
Children from black and ethnic minority communities, in particular black children and increasingly those from new migrant communities
Long term – where children and young people are not be able to live with their own families for a number of years, if at all. Children and young people stay in a family where they feel secure, while maintaining contact with their birth family.
Children with complex/additional needs including behaviour that challenges – this is an identified priority for a number of Local Authorities including the need for ‘short break’ carers (carers providing a variety of different types of part-time care. Stays for anything from a few hours each week to a couple of weekends each month, giving their own family or their full time foster carers a break.)
“We have received wonderful support over the years from Knowsley Council, they know us and the children and I would urge anyone thinking of fostering to get in touch with them.”
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