26th May 2020

Foster carers share their inspirational stories

Foster carers in Somerset have committed their inspirational stories to film to help raise the profile of their role during National Foster Care Fortnight (12-25 May). 

Somerset County Council aims to get people thinking about fostering and what they could offer a child in care. Our foster carers do an amazing job, providing a family, love and stability to so many vulnerable children who, for various reasons, cannot live with their own family. 

Their stories are inspirational and some foster carers have shared their stories in short films, where they talk about what it is really like, how they found the application process and what it is like having a child, young person or parent and child living in their home. You can watch the short films at: www.fosteringinsomerset.org.uk, more films will be added throughout the Fortnight. 

Here are a few snippets from the films: 
Paula and Alan are Emergency and Mainstream Foster Carers from Bridgwater. Paula said: “We have been fostering for six years and in that time we have looked after 67 children. I also work as a part-time district nurse and Alan works full-time. I think it is important that as a family we do work because a lot of these children won’t have had parents that work, so it is providing role models. Especially because Alan is a wheelchair user, it actually shows them that everybody in society has a place that they can be. Just because you’re disabled doesn’t mean that you can’t work, just because you’re a looked after child in care doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve.” 

Penny is a Multidimensional Treatment Foster Carer (MTFC) from Taunton. She said: “The team that I work with on the MTFC scheme is just fantastic, I really feel part of the team. I don’t feel isolated at home, just battling away on my own, so if a crisis occurs I can phone up at any time day or night and just say ‘help’ or if my little girl is having a tantrum I can ask ‘what do you suggest?’” 

Sarah is a Long Term Foster Carer from Yeovil. Sarah said: “When you do it well and you see a child develop, you know it is because you have given them a secure and stable and happy home. You don’t get it right everyday, but you provide that sense of stability and security that they have never had and that goes a very long way…. There are a bunch of children out there who need to be adopted and won’t be adopted because they are too old, who still need families that are permanent. I wouldn’t want to be a child that is moved from place to place, I count it as a privilege that I get to have a child that will never have to be moved again.” 

Somerset County Council are hosting two fostering information events during Foster Care Fortnight: 
On: Tuesday 13 May 7-9pm 
At: Holiday Inn Express in Taunton 
On: Tuesday 20 May 7-9pm 
At: Westlands Leisure Complex, Wessex Suite in Yeovil. 

At the events Social workers will be on hand to answer questions and provide information and foster carers will be available to chat to. 

Cllr Frances Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: “Lot’s of people think they can’t foster because they are single, male, don’t own their home or smoke but none of these things stop people from becoming a foster carer. The starting point is that people need love, time,and to be able to give support to a child. They also need to have a spare bedroom. 

“We offer ongoing training, support and opportunities to get involved with recruitment and development opportunities within the service. Additionally, it was agreed last week (2 May) at Cabinet that all foster carers will be paid a weekly fee for the care they provide as well as an allowance which covers the cost of looking after a child. 

“Foster carers do not come into fostering for the money but we understand that people need to pay their mortgage and bills and many people can’t afford to foster full-time. This new pay and progression scheme will open up the possibility of fostering for lots of people, attract people who otherwise could not afford to foster and help prevent people already fostering from giving up for financial reasons.” 

Full details of the new pay and progression scheme for foster carers will be released shortly and payments are likely to begin from June 2014. 

Find out more about fostering, come along to an information event or visit: www.fosteringinsomerset.org.uk or phone 0800 587 9900. 

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