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New year, new challenge - specialist foster carers needed to provide a loving home for Wiltshire's children

Published 1 January 2021
Specialist fostering requirements

People looking for a fresh start in 2021 who want to make a real difference in a local child's life are being encouraged to consider becoming a specialist foster carer.
 
Wiltshire Council wants to recruit 10 more specialist foster carers over the next 12 months to help those who need a loving home have the support they need to face life and its challenges.

Ideally this will be people who have the skills and experience necessary and are available full time and may be considering a change in career. All specialist foster carers are provided with training and additional support.
 
Specialist foster carers include:

  • Home away from Home Specialist - Providing care and support for children and young people with complex needs. This may include children and young people living with medical needs and/or disabilities or those who have experienced a high level of trauma, including those returning from residential care.
  • Parent and child foster carers  - these foster carers provide a stable home for a parent(s) and their child and will complete, or assist in, an assessment of the parent's ability to care for their child. 
  • Short-term Emergency Provision Scheme (STEPS) foster carers - these are foster carers who can be available, sometimes in a emergency, to care for any children and young people for at least one 14-day period each month until a suitable foster home is found for them.

Carers are allocated a supervising social worker and are part of a buddy scheme which links the new carer with an experienced foster carer. 
 
People interested in becoming a specialist foster carer must:

  • have a spare bedroom
  • be over 21 years
  • have experience of direct work with children and young people who have experienced trauma or live with complex medical needs or disabilities
  • have one foster carer in the household available for fostering full-time.

Specialist foster carer Kerry explained the rewards of her role: ""For us the positive thing about being a foster carer is all the things we get to do with our young people, seeing the changes in them from when they first come to us...and watching them grow."

Specialist foster carer Caroline explained how along with her husband Steve she approaches the role: "We always try to advocate for the children we look after, the same way we would our own birth children, and with positive reinforcement and constant reassurance we see some fantastic changes in the children."
 
Councillor Laura Mayes, Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Skills, said: "Our children are in need of a stable, loving home which they can rely on so they can grow and flourish and have the confidence for their future. We are really clear these roles can be challenging and they are full time but we know they have an incredible impact for the better on a child's life. If you are able to take up this commitment we will be there to support you both with training and financially so please do get in touch."

Wiltshire Council will be holding information sessions in January for those interested in fostering. The first one will be a general information evening on Tuesday 12 January at 7:30pm and by joining the fostering information session online (opens new window).

There will also be a second information session later on in January for those interesting in specialist level foster care. This will be on Wednesday 27 January at 7:30pm and you can join the fostering information session online (opens new window).
 
People can also find out more about specialist fostering by going to fosteringwiltshire.uk or by texting Foster to 60002 and there will be a response within two working days.

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