Foster Care Fortnight started today and runs until May 24, and the council is hoping to use the occasion, even in these unusual times, to recruit new foster carers who might transform children and young people’s lives by offering them safe and caring home.
With the largest population of under-18s in London, Croydon has around 800 children and young people in care – more than anywhere else in the capital. Of these, around 400 children are placed with our foster carers.
The appeal for new foster parents comes after a rocky three years for the council’s children’s services department, which was recently given a clean bill of health of Ofsted inspectors after having been rated as “inadequate” – and that was without the additional problems created when a member of the council staff helped herself to £128,000 of funds from the foster carers’ budget.
The long, slow process of rebuilding the trust of fosterers and potential foster carers has now begun.
Over the next fortnight, the council will be sharing stories from local foster carers on its social media channels – Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – and encouraging others who may be considering fostering to find out more.
This year’s theme is This Is Fostering, and the council will be highlighting local foster carers, the important contribution they make and the positive impact fostering has had on young people and their lives.
Taianne, a young person with care-experience, said: “Taking on a child or a young teen that’s not yours can be very challenging, because you’re not sure whether or not the child has got over their trauma, and it’s up to you to be that special person who can make them smile again.
“A foster carer can make a difference to a young person in lots of ways – from taking care of their basic needs like trips to the dentist or joining the gym with them so they don’t feel shy; bringing them a pastry from the supermarket, or taking them on holidays, so they don’t miss out on special memories just because they are in care.”
But it’s not only the young people who benefit from fostering. Pat and her husband have fostered many children of various ages, and she described how fostering transformed her life, as well as the lives of those she has cared for.
She said: “It’s something we consider to be an absolute privilege – we’re really, really passionate about fostering. It is the most incredible journey, and sometimes it makes you sad, when you think about what the children have been through, but it makes you so happy when you see the improvement.
“Our life has been very exciting because of it and it’s something that we really like to do.”
Foster carers in Croydon are drawn from a wide range of backgrounds and in different circumstances – single people, couples, older and younger residents.
If you have considered fostering, the council is recruiting now, with virtual information sessions available throughout the covid-19 lockdown.
- Read the tale of Ron and Avril Head, Croydon fosterers honoured by the Queen
- Potter foster parents awarded MBE after helping 200 children
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