We have children of all ages and from a diverse range of backgrounds who need foster homes.
Children come into care for many reasons. They will have experienced trauma and separation from their birth family and some will have had many different carers. Many will have suffered from abuse or neglect. Older children who have experienced family disruption may have behavioural or emotional difficulties whilst some children may have learning problems or may not have developed as quickly as children of the same age.
Whilst the children are in foster homes they will have regular contact with their birth family members. Some parents may have had difficulties themselves. We work together with parents and if at all possible we try to rehabilitate the children back home with them.
Being in foster care allows children to experience a childhood they have lost or may never have had. A safe, stable and loving environment provide a strong foundation which can give children and young people the chance to aspire to great things.
We urgently need new carers, especially those interested in offering long term placements to teenagers and those able to offer a home to sibling groups or children with complex needs. Our foster carers are approved to care for 0-18years to provide flexibility so that we can meet the needs of children who come into care.
Supporting a teenager through what can often be an awkward transition in their journey through to adulthood, building their confidence and resilience, and equipping them with the skills they need for independence, can be an incredibly rewarding experience. The journey through adolescence is something we have all experienced and therefore all carers will have their own insight to offer. Read the case study below to see how being in foster care helped 16 year old Elouise realise her potential.
The reality is that with the current shortage of foster carers able to care for multiple children, siblings are being separated when it would be in their best interests to remain together. Caring for a sibling group and knowing that you have contributed to that family being able to remain together, can again be a rewarding experience that will make a real positive difference for these families.
Complex needs can mean a number of things; challenging behaviours, learning difficulties and disabilities, emotional, behavioural and mental health needs. Carers fostering these young people will be well supported by a range of professionals who will offer ongoing advice and expertise. It can be a daunting prospect but carers won't be alone and will have an incredible opportunity to build a career out of making a real difference to the lives of children and young people.
We also have increasing number of Polish, Dual Heritage and Black Caribbean children needing to be placed with carers who are able to promote their identity positively and meet their cultural needs.
"Some people hold negative views of children in care, which is unfair"
Sixteen year old Elouise* is in the care of Nottingham City Council, and lives with foster carers. Recently she completed Business in the Community's RISE programme, designed to help the hardest to reach young people into employment. She describes how going into care was a positive experience for her, and how much she enjoyed a work placement with John Lewis arranged through RISE. Click the link to read her story.
*Name has been changed for the purpose of this piece.
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