Foster carers in Northamptonshire have praised the support provided by Northamptonshire County Council.
A recent Ofsted report on the county’s fostering services found that foster carers in the county feel their views are valued by the council and foster carers and children feel supported.
Now, Northamptonshire foster carers are backing a campaign to encourage more local people to help the council to take care of vulnerable children in their area.
Foster carer Paul and his wife Wendy have been foster carers for four years and in that time have looked after seven children. Paul says: “We love being foster carers and I’d definitely encourage anyone thinking of becoming a foster carer to approach the council rather than an independent agency because there’s so much support available to carers.
“Ultimately it is a team effort. We’re the part of a team at the coal face but there are lots of people supporting us behind the scenes. As well as the formal support of our social care team, there’s a foster buddy scheme for new recruits and a dedicated support group for male foster carers.”
As well as taking part in the buddy scheme to support new foster carers, Paul attends open evenings for prospective carers. Paul said: “I’m happy to give my time to support those activities because there is such a need for more carers especially for siblings. The more carers we have in the county, the easier it will be to keep brothers and sisters together as a family.”
This week, the council launches a campaign to recruit more foster carers to increase the changes of a child in care staying their local area and to avoid having to use expensive agency placements that could see them living away from their local community.
Colin Clement and his wife Jackie, who live in Irthlingborough, have been fostering older children for ten years. Colin is the chair of a support group set up specifically for the county’s male foster carers.
Colin said: “We became foster carers after seeing an advert for people to look after teenagers. We had time on our hands and space in our house so we contacted the council. Being a foster carer does change you. You gain as much from the experience as the children do. It’s a way of being part of your community and giving something back.
“At that time, male foster cares were somewhat sidelined so the support group is really valuable. It’s open to any male foster carer in the county. We have a mixture of formal meetings and social events which means there’s always an opportunity to talk to others about their experiences or to feed back to the council about any issues that arise.”
The Northamptonshire Male Foster Carers Group is recognised by the Fostering Network and earlier this year received an invitation to attend the Queens Jubilee Picnic at Buckingham Palace.
Foster carers are paid a weekly allowance and receive a full training package. A recent Ofsted report on the county’s fostering services found that foster carers in the county feel their views are valued by the council and foster carers and children feel supported.
For more information call the fostering recruitment line on 0300 126 1009 or visit www.fosterme.co.uk