Wiltshire Council encourages "empty nesters" and those who fancy a change in direction to think about fostering
The council is encouraging these people to consider fostering and help meet the demand for more people to foster with Wiltshire Council
Wiltshire Council is asking "empty nesters" and those wanting a change of direction to consider fostering to help provide homes for the numbers of children and young people coming into care.
For some households September can mean a change in circumstances, such as children leaving for university or school or people wanting a change in career. The council is encouraging these people to consider fostering and help meet the demand for more people to foster with Wiltshire Council.
For those wanting to find out more or just ask questions there will be an online information evening on 20 October from 7:30pm. You can join via this link https://bit.ly/3kyP7WF.
Wiltshire Council foster carer Kate made the choice to change careers. She began fostering in 2008 swapping a career in retail management to be a foster carer. Fostering allowed her to be around for those in her care and her own children and it fitted in better with her family life at the time.
She joined Wiltshire Council in March this year with a preference to care for secondary school aged young people - particularly teenagers in crisis. She understands why some people may have concerns - but she explains the benefits outweigh the concerns.
She said: "I have always felt that people are put off caring for older children but there are so many positives if you can just understand why they do what they do and have the patience and resilience to ride their tough journey with them and not give up on them at the first hurdle. We all make mistakes and often more than once!
"For anyone thinking about fostering, the fact that you are means you are curious enough to want to know more....so ask those questions! It is not easy and you need to be patient and resilient but if you do go forward then it will be such a rewarding role."
The campaign is being launched as Wiltshire Council looks to recruit 100 additional foster carers by spring 2023. Kate is one of the 50 foster carers who so far have joined since the campaign began in April 2020 and she is keen to encourage more to come forward.
Cllr Laura Mayes, Cabinet Member for Children's Services said: "We are grateful to the many foster carers who provide a warm home and stable influence in our young people's lives. Many children and young people have gone through trauma and difficulties and we are so fortunate that we can offer them a safe place to stay where they can heal and learn to trust again. 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 which 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.