At least 750 new foster families are needed across Yorkshire and the Humber during 2014 to provide stable, secure and loving homes for the record numbers of fostered children, according to figures out today from the Fostering Network.
Tonight, over 5,400 children will be living with foster families across Yorkshire and the Humber. More foster families are needed not only to replace the 12 per cent who leave each year, but to ensure that children who come into foster care find foster carers who are right for them, have the skills and qualities they need, and are available now.
More foster families are particularly needed to provide homes for teenagers, children with disabilities and sibling groups. Without enough foster families willing and able to offer homes to these groups, some children will find themselves living a long way from family, school and friends, being split up from brothers and sisters, or being placed with a foster carer who does not have the ideal skills and experience to meet their specific needs. A wider pool of foster carers makes it more likely that fostering services can find the right foster home for each child, first time.
Robert Tapsfield, chief executive of the Fostering Network, said: “Children and young people come into care for a wide range of reasons, but all come needing professional, dedicated and compassionate support. Foster carers are remarkable people who open their homes to some of society’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people.
“Fostering services across Yorkshire and the Humber need to attract a diverse range of foster carers who can reflect the children in care and who can offer as much choice as possible so that they can find the right home for each child, first time.
“We urgently need people who believe that they have the right skills and qualities to foster to come forward and make a long lasting positive difference to the life of a child. In particular, foster carers are needed to provide homes for teenagers and children with disabilities, and to help sibling groups stay together.”
An additional 7,000 foster families are needed right across England, 200 in Northern Ireland, 850 in Scotland and 550 in Wales during 2014.
To find out more about becoming a foster carer people should contact their local fostering service. Details from couldyoufoster.org.uk.
FOSTER CARER SKILLS CHECKLIST
Listening skills: Do you hear and understand what children and adults are saying to you?
Optimism: Are you able to look on the bright side when times get tough?
Confidence: Can you handle difficult situations without feeling out of your depth?
Patience: Can you persevere even when you don’t seem to be getting quick results?
Stability: Do you have a welcoming home and make children feel safe and secure?
Team player: Can you share responsibility, work with others, and ask for help and support?
Observational skills: Can you see what is really going on beneath the surface?
Energetic : Are you full of energy and life?
Communications skills: Do you get on well in groups and with children?
Can you speak for others?
Sense of humour: Can you see the funny side of life?
FOSTER CARER MYTH-BUSTER
There is no legal minimum age to become a foster carer.
There is also no official upper age limit.
Single people can foster, as well as couples who are married or live together.
There are many gay and lesbian foster carers.
Foster carers do not need to own their own home.
People don’t have to be parents to foster.