Give a young person a place to call home

Somerset County Council launches its message for Foster Care Fortnight 2015

Could you give a young person in Somerset a place to call home? Somerset County Council is looking for people with space in their lives to foster an older child or teenager, and is inviting them to attend a special information event during National Foster Care Fortnight 2015 to find out more.

The special event is taking place in Bridgwater on Wednesday 10 June, 7pm-9pm, at the Canalside (TA6 6LQ). It features a Q&A with foster carers already caring for young people in Somerset across a variety of different fostering schemes.

Give a young person a place to call home web image

This is a unique opportunity to hear first-hand of the rewards of fostering older children and teenagers, and the skills needed for this role. The stability, support and guidance a foster carer gives, and the experience of fostering, offers huge rewards on both sides.

The Fostering Team is looking for people with time, energy, understanding, a willingness to learn – and a spare room – to come forward and consider becoming a foster carer. There are lots of different types of fostering people can do, depending on their circumstances.

At the event on 10th June there will be a number of stands on the different types of foster care to give people a really good insight into what is on offer. These include:
• General fostering information: What you need to foster, applying and being assessed, training, and the role of a foster carer.
• Home-Based Care: A specialist, home-based fostering scheme for young people aged 10 and over.
• Parent-and-child fostering: A scheme offering assessment and support placements for parents and their young child.
• Multi-dimensional Treatment Foster Care: A scheme supporting and nurturing children to help them manage their behavioural problems long-term.
• Stepping Stones: A scheme providing help, care and support to young people aged 16 to 21 to help them move towards an independent life.
• Promise Mentoring: While not a fostering scheme, this Somerset-wide mentoring and advocacy service offers support for 5 to 19 year-olds experiencing difficulties at home, in care, or with education and training.

A general information session on both fostering and adoption is also being held at the Fox and Hounds Pub in Tytherington near Frome (BA11 5BN), on Wednesday 3 June (7pm-9pm).

On Tuesday 2 June prospective foster carers can even take part in a Facebook Q&A from 4pm-8pm on the Fostering in Somerset Facebook page: www.facebook.com/fosteringinsomerset

Cllr Frances Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Children and Families at Somerset County Council, said: “Often when people think about fostering, their mind turns to babies or young children, when there are also young people aged 10 and older in Somerset who would so benefit from what a foster carer has to offer them.

“I urge those who are able and committed to making a difference to the life of a young person needing care in Somerset, to come to these information sessions.

“Speak to the team and to people who have fostered, and find out how you can play a vital role in helping an older child or teenager.”

To find out more about fostering, including taking our online ‘Can I foster or adopt with Somerset County Council?’ quiz, visit www.fosteradoptsomerset.org.uk or phone 0800 5879900.

Notes to editors
National Foster Care Fortnight 2015 runs from Monday 1 June until Sunday 14 June.

Every foster carer interviewed by Ofsted during a recent inspection said they would recommend fostering for Somerset County Council. They also said that they value the training they receive from the authority, their inclusion in the service, and new developments.

When we haven’t enough foster carers in general, and in particular foster carers with the right specialist skills, children in care are placed with private agency foster carers or in children’s homes. This means that children sometimes end up living further away from their home, school and family than is ideal, or in a children’s home, when a family setting where the foster carers have the right specialist skills would be better.

The County Council offers its foster carers:
• A wealth of training and professional development opportunities
• Financial support for foster carers attending training courses
• Consistent and regular placements
• Specialist teams supporting foster carers looking after teenagers, parents and their children, or children and young people with particularly complex needs
• A pay progression scheme which rewards carers for their skills, experience and learning, and recognises the need to support carers who are able to care for sibling groups
• Competitive fees
• Retainers are paid for our specialist schemes that provide an income between placements where carers need to be available at home.