Foster carers helped launch a campaign today (Thursday 30 January) to recruit more people to take on this rewarding role.
With approximately 100 children and young people coming in to care each year in South Gloucestershire, we need to attract more foster carers – especially for teenagers – to come forward and open up your home and help make a difference to a young person's life.
Cllr Ian Blair, Chair of South Gloucestershire Council’s Children & Young People Committee, officially launched the campaign at The Mall, Cribbs Causeway. He said: “We are facing a shortage in the number of foster carers in the area and we need more people to come forward and provide what is a vitally important role in a child or young person’s life.
“We’re seeking families, couples and individuals from all backgrounds who can welcome often vulnerable children into their homes and bring new opportunities into their lives. The important thing is that our carers have the time and patience to care for a young person, child or siblings.”
Jackie Coombs is a 50-year-old foster carer from Yate who fosters a teenage girl. She also spoke at the launch.
She said: “My family and I have been fostering with South Gloucestershire Council for the past four years. I am currently approved to foster children from the age of 0 to teenagers. Fostering has been in our extended family as long as I can remember. The idea of fostering for us came about from discussions amongst all of the family. Realising that we had suitable space in our home it was something we were passionate about. We believed we had the skills required to be successful in fostering and we’d seen so many positives in the fostered children within our family.
“So now my family and I find ourselves four years down the line, having had many varied placements (mostly teenagers), fostering has fulfilled all of our expectations and much more. The positives have outweighed any challenges presented. The training offered has been invaluable.
“The necessary set of skills needed to be a foster carer include consistency, patience, the ability to listen, a caring nature, ability to set and stick to boundaries, approachability and availability. And you also need to be committed.
“To give just a little can mean so much and can make all the difference. I hope you will be inspired to seriously consider fostering for South Gloucestershire.”
Foster carer Jacqueline Jarrett, 46, from St George, said: “If you have a heart and are able to hang in there through the difficult times you will see the young people blossom, develop and achieve.”
We are seeking carers who can provide long term placements in addition to short term and emergency care when needed. We are also on the lookout for people to become Share the Care carers and provide short breaks for disabled children and young people, including those with learning difficulties or autism. This could be as little as providing an overnight stay a month to a child.
If you think you could welcome a child into your home we would be keen to hear from you. Please call 0800 2061443 or browse this website for more details.