A Bristol based foster carer has been made a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to children.
Rita Roblin from Stapleton has, alongside her husband Alan, been a foster carer for 25 years, caring and supporting children of all ages. This MBE comes only months after being recognised for an Ambassador to Fostering Award in October 2016.
Speaking about her nomination and award, Rita said: “I’m completely blown away by this news; I honestly did not expect this to happen to me. Being a foster carer has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Being able to have a positive influence on the life of a vulnerable young person and support them as they grow into young adults really fills me with a sense of joy. There’s no feeling like knowing you are providing a safe and loving home for a child that for whatever reason can’t have that with their parents.
“I hope this award can help inspire a new wave of people to step forward and express an interest in being foster carers. Councils across the west are always in need of foster carers and this call will only become more urgent as the numbers of children going into care increases.
“I would like to thank all those who have helped me along the way and shared this journey with me over the years.”
Councillor Clare Campion-Smith, Cabinet Member for People including Fostering at Bristol City Council, said: “I warmly congratulate Rita for this recognition and thank her and Alan for their incredible contribution to caring for and supporting so many children and young people throughout the years. Without the care and love provided by foster carers across Bristol and the region, many children and young people would not get the positive start in life that is so important to their future.
“We are always looking for people who are willing and able to foster. Our Fostering team are ready to speak to anyone who is considering fostering or would simply like to know more.”
Aside from caring children and young people Rita is also heavily involved in recruiting foster carers in South Gloucestershire and North Somerset. Rita is Chair of the North Somerset fostering panel and the Vice Chair of the South Gloucestershire panel.
Leader of South Gloucestershire Council, Cllr Matthew Riddle, said: “Our warmest congratulations go to Rita on this well-deserved achievement. Rita has been a panel member and Vice-Chair of the South Gloucestershire Fostering Panel for a number of years and has played a vital role in the approval and review process of our connected carers, foster carers and short break carers. It’s fantastic to see the invaluable role of foster carers honoured in this way.”
Foster carers are always in demand across Bristol and the wider region. The Fostering Network estimated that around 600 new foster carers would be needed in 2016 to meet the growing number of children coming into care.
If anyone is interested in becoming a foster carer they should contact their local council’s fostering team.