Sefton Council is asking local residents to make time for fostering as part of a national campaign to raise awareness of fostering and recruit new carers.
The local authority is hosting one of its regular fostering information sessions to coincide with Foster Care Fortnight 2016, which takes place 16-29 May.
Foster Care Fortnight has taken place annually for nearly 20 years and is organised by national charity, The Fostering Network using the theme ‘A Time to Foster, A Time to Care’. As part of the theme, the charity is asking people to describe their ‘best ever 20 minutes’ to recognise that every 20 minutes another child enters care in the UK.
According to The Fostering Network, nationally 9,070 carers are needed in the next 12 months to provide stable homes for a range of children, with the greatest need being for older children, sibling groups and disabled children. This picture is reflected in Sefton, where Sefton Council’s fostering service wants to recruit 30 new foster carers to address the needs of children in its care.
Sefton Council’s fostering information session takes place at 6.30pm on Wednesday, May 18 at Crosby Lakeside Adventure Centre. Here anyone who is thinking of fostering can meet Sefton’s experts, watch presentations, ask questions and meet experienced foster carers to find out what is involved first hand.
Alongside the information session, Sefton’s fostering service is asking carers, care leavers and social workers to share their best twenty minutes in foster care as part of a drive to recruit new carers online, through social media and sharing marketing resources with local partners in health, education and the voluntary sector.
Foster carer, Fran Ryan, said: “Foster Care Fortnight has made me think about my best 20 minutes in fostering, which is incredibly tough, as it has been such a rewarding time for me.
“But I do have a particular memory that has really stuck with me. We were fostering a little boy, he was very troubled. He’d been excluded from mainstream school because of his behavioural issues; he was one of the saddest boys I’d ever met. We took him for a family holiday on a barge boat.
“What a difference we saw, he relaxed right into it. I remember seeing him sitting on the roof saluting people as we moved along, then he would jump off and race the barge along the side of the canal. He seemed so happy and confident; he was like any other child without a care in the world! I was so pleased we could be a part of that.”
If you are considering fostering children in Sefton, contact Sefton Fostering and Adoption Service Freephone 0800 923 2777 or visit www.seftonfostering.co.uk.