Laura encourages people to find out more as fostering campaign ramps up
"Take that first step and ask the questions" is the advice of foster carer Laura as she encourages more people in Wiltshire to think about fostering with Wiltshire Council.
The council wants to recruit 100 additional foster carers by spring 2023, including 'empty nesters' and those wanting a change to help provide homes for the numbers of children and young people coming into care. So far just over 50 additional foster carers have joined the council since the campaign began in May 2020.
Laura has fostered with Wiltshire Council for five years and has been a foster carer for 10 years after watching a programme on GMTV about adoption and fostering and realising it was her vocation.
For Laura, fostering means helping children feel safe, nurtured and guiding them to a bright and secure, healthy happy future - while also being properly supported financially to be a foster carer.
She has joined the call for more people to consider fostering with Wiltshire Council so children in care can stay local to their communities and school. You can watch her YouTube: Fostering video.
Laura explains: "Wiltshire is desperately in need of homes for teenagers. A teenager in your home is an absolute whirlwind; you can almost see the hormones, anyone with a teenager will tell you that. This is going to sound really crazy but when they feel able to cry with you, to shout out their feelings at you, it gives me this really fuzzy feeling of wow, I've managed to gain their trust, that they are comfortable enough to express their emotions to me and that's more than money will ever give you.
"But if you've got a spare room, or maybe your child has gone off to uni and you think that there is room in your heart, there's no commitment for you to foster, you can ask as many questions as you want to know whether it's going to be right for you and your family, and if you'd like to be put in touch with a foster carer, I'm sure that they can arrange that, as you can hear first-hand, so go on take that first step and ask the questions."
People interested in fostering can join an online information session on Wednesday 20 October at 7:30pm by joining online.
Cllr Laura Mayes, Cabinet Member for Children's Services, said: "Laura is a great example of one of our many foster carers who open up their homes and provide a warm, stable place for our young people in care. We are incredibly indebted to these amazing people who provide that stable influence and make a difference to a young person's direction in life for the better.
"Since the easing of restrictions we've seen more children and young people come into care and need our help. By fostering with Wiltshire Council, people can provide a home that is local for that young person and that meets their needs. We know there will be people out there thinking they want to know more and I would encourage them to join our information session or give us a call, and we can discuss what it means for them and help people on that road to making a difference to one of our local children."
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 for young people who have experienced trauma and loss.
People who foster with Wiltshire Council are given training and continued support. Payments reflect the commitment carers are making to the role. There are different fostering schemes available ranging from £350 to £650 a week, depending on people's skills and experience.