This Foster Care Fortnight Cornwall Council’s Fostering Service are urging people to come forward to help change a child's life.
Potential foster carers can visit a drop-in evening on Wednesday 21 May from 6pm-8pm at New County Hall in Truro, to see if they can give guidance, stability and love to some of the most vulnerable children and young people in the county.
The council says there Cornwall are over 270 families who foster in Cornwall, but with record numbers of children coming into care, more are urgently needed.
The number of children in care in England is rising year on year and in Cornwall there are currently 443 children in care. At present there is a specific need for foster carers to care for older children and teenagers, and carers who can offer permanent homes for a child or young person and look after them until adulthood.
Jenny and Gordon have been fostering for over thirty-six years, the majority of which have been here in Cornwall. They say: “The bottom line is we enjoy it. We enjoy the challenge, being able to provide a space where children feel safe, secure and loved, without any strings attached”.
The couple only foster teenagers “They need us the most. We enjoy all ages but with older children you can really see where you are going. There is huge satisfaction in allowing them to just be themselves, to stop and look at their lives without criticism. We help them to discover what is going wrong for them and maybe give them ideas for change or strategies for coping.”
25 year old James came into care when he was 12 years old.
“It has opened up a lot more opportunities for me and kept me on the straight and narrow” he said.
“My foster carers just got it. They were respectful and understood my needs. They made me feel at home. I think people should be in it for the long haul and they should be prepared for lots of challenges but a lot of good times too”.
Rebecca Sargent is the council’s service manager for the Fostering Service. There are many ‘fostering myths’ surrounding who can foster, but the truth is that foster carers come from a range of backgrounds and lifestyles.” she said. “You can become a foster carer regardless of marital status, sexual orientation, age (as long as you are over 21), cultural background and financial status.”
“Foster carers have a vital role in giving children in care the best possible start in life” said Andrew Wallis, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People.
“Our foster carers are doing a great job in making a truly positive difference to the lives of hundreds of children in Cornwall every year but we need more people to come forward .
“You can help change a child’s life by becoming a foster carer so please take the time to think about how you can become involved ."
To find out more about becoming a foster carer, you can attend the informal drop-in evening from 6pm-8pm on 21st May, at New County Hall in Truro, or call the Fostering Team on 01872 323 638. www.cornwall.gov.uk/fostering.