A local fostering agency based in Stonehouse is rolling out a new campaign to encourage more people to provide homes for children coming into care.
Fosterplus, who provide fostering services in Stonehouse, is launching the campaign which highlights the raw and real-life experiences of fostering to empower more foster families to come forward.
According to the latest statistics released by Ofsted at the end of March 2020, 56,500 children were in care, a 3% increase compared to the 2019 figures. As a result, foster parents are needed now more than ever to care for vulnerable children.
The #ConversationsWithCarers campaign features a series of recorded video calls where foster parents discuss their different fostering experiences, giving an open and honest account of how fostering has impacted their lives.
Angela Turland, registered manager for Fosterplus commented: “The #ConversationsWithCarers campaign is an honest and endearing way to get to know some of our many amazing foster families at Fosterplus.
“There’s never been a better time for individuals and families to provide new beginnings for many children, who desperately need a loving and safe environment. We are hoping the campaign will encourage more people to come forward and consider a rewarding career in fostering.”
One couple who decided to foster was Jemma and her husband Guy, who shared how the decision changed their life. Fostering came very naturally to the couple. Guy, said: “Having worked in the youth offending service and with younger children, one of the main reasons we became foster parents was because we believe prevention is better than cure. We always knew if we had the chance to help a child, we would.”
Jemma added: “Fostering has enhanced our family. It feels really good to know you are able to give back and know you are doing something positive for somebody and supporting them to become the best versions of themselves.”
The couple expressed something they have struggled with over the course of the pandemic was adapting virtually. As a family who loves attending the Fosterplus social events, Jemma said, “I really miss my fostering networks and planning to meet up with them as I do consider them as my foster family.”
“Pre-coronavirus, there were lots of fun Fosterplus activities from the training courses to events. I really miss the days out because we used to go to Christmas parties, Halloween events, the theatre, ice skating. The online support has been equally great but as a family, we just prefer to do stuff in person.”
For those thinking about fostering, Jemma added: “Go for it, try it. There are so many networks and support groups out there so if you are ever worried, ask others. I think it is important to just go for it but in doing that, work out your boundaries.”
“Every child is different, but we have found for us is that the love and positives far outweigh the challenges of it all.”
Fosterplus is an independent fostering agency that currently takes care of children across England and Scotland. During the coronavirus pandemic, Fosterplus has adapted to provide virtual support to their existing and prospective foster parents with home visits and assessments now being conducted virtually.
For more information about becoming a foster parent, call the friendly team on 0800 369 8512 or please visit https://www.fosterplus.co.uk/offices/stonehouse/