Local children in desperate need of foster families
Date published: 14 May 2018
There is a shortage of foster carers in Oldham, and across the North West generally
Leading charity The Fostering Network insist that 1,240 new foster families need to be found in the North West to ensure that all children who need fostering can live with the right family to meet their needs.
There is a particular need for families who can foster teenagers and groups of brothers and sisters.
The new figures, which have been published on the first day of The Fostering Network’s Foster Care Fortnight (May 14-27), show that 8,100 families are needed across the UK (6,800 in England, 200 in Northern Ireland, 550 in Wales and 550 in Scotland).
Without more foster families in the North West coming forward during 2018, and especially those who could foster teenagers and siblings, some children will find themselves living a long way from their family, school and friends, being split up from brothers and sisters, or being placed with a foster carer who might not have the right skills and experience to meet their specific needs.
More foster families means that a fostering service can match the needs of each child more closely with the skills and experience that each foster carer brings, allowing them to find the right home for each child, first time, and to improve stability for fostered children.
That is why, this Foster Care Fortnight, the Fostering Network is calling for people who think they might have the relevant skills and experience to come forward to find out more about fostering.
Kevin Williams, chief executive of The Fostering Network said: "Foster carers do something amazing on behalf of our society, opening their hearts and homes to fostered children, often offering them their first experience of a stable, secure and caring home.
"Looking after fostered children, many of whom who have experienced trauma, abuse or neglect, can be challenging.
"But it is that challenge, along with the reward of seeing these children and young people flourish, that many foster carers across the North West say makes them proud to foster."
Paul and his husband Michael have been fostering for 11 years and currently look after two siblings, one of whom has additional needs.
Paul said: "We are very proud to foster, to break all those boundaries and sadly taboos that still exist.
"Being a same sex couple we have made other same sex couples feel comfortable and confident about the fostering process because they can see we have successfully fostered children over many years.
"The best aspect of fostering is seeing the children and young people become happy, confident and comfortable in themselves and their surroundings.
"Of course, being a foster carer is very demanding and takes emotional resilience.
"Humour is also very important - I describe it as my medicine!
"Fostering is the best thing we have ever done.
"We have loved and cared for some fabulous children who have then gone onto flourish in their lives.
"We have made some very special friends along the way too!"
People who think they have the relevant skills and experience to be able to look after fostered children, enjoy a challenge and have a spare room can find out more at www.thefosteringnetwork.org.uk/couldyoufoster.
Recall our recent Chronicle Oldham foster caring exclusive here.