Children in care have revealed the qualities they value most in foster carers as part of a new survey conducted by The Fostering Network.
The survey results, released to mark the start of Foster Care Fortnight (16-29 May 2016), reveal overwhelmingly that the things children in care value most are safety, security and support, whilst only a small percentage saw being a good cook as a quality they rate highly.
Foster Care Fortnight 2016 is the UK’s biggest foster care awareness campaign and will adopt the message that now is the time to care and now is the time to foster.
Anyone who is interested in fostering is invited to an event that will be held on 25 May at 6.30pm at the Unitarian Chapel, Brunswick Square, Bristol, BS2 8PE. This event will give people the chance to learn more about what it is to foster as well as hear about the experiences of those who do.
Information will also be available to dispel some myths and stereotypes around fostering older children, who are one of the groups who are often waiting longest for a home.
Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, said:
“Foster carers provide vital support and security to some of society’s most vulnerable young people. I wish to thank those in Bristol who have taken the step to foster and urge others to do the same, wherever you are in the city whatever your background; you could be the support a young person desperately needs to thrive.”
Nationally, a child comes into care in need of a foster family every 20 minutes. In Bristol, residents are being asked to consider the prospect of providing a safe and secure home to one or more of these children.
A Bristol City Council carer, Julie, speaking of her foster teen Mel, said:
“At the age of 11 she said she wanted to be a midwife, she left school with 11 GCSE’s and 3 A-levels , and she is in the process of applying for a midwifery course at universities across the country. She has been turned down twice but is determined to get onto the course and I am absolutely sure with her drive and determination and support from us she will achieve it.
“Mel is age 19 and staying put, we had our challenges through the teenage years, but she has grown into a wonderful woman, and we as a family love her dearly. Mel is in contact with, and has a good relationship with her family, but she chooses to stay with us. Mel has passed her driving test and is driving her own car; she has a part time job, volunteering on the maternity ward once a week while she is pursuing her ambition to be a midwife. I am so proud of her.”
Without more foster families coming forward during 2016 some children will find themselves living a long way from family, school and friends, being split up from brothers and sisters. There is then a significant risk that a child’s placement will breakdown, further disrupting an already traumatic childhood.
If you believe you have the skills that children and young people want in their foster carer, visit www.bristol.gov.uk/fostering today to find out more.