UK’s largest fostering charity urging more people to consider fostering post-lockdown
The UK’s leading fostering charity, The Fostering Network, is calling on those with the right skills and experience to consider becoming a foster carer this Foster Care FortnightTM (10 – 23 May).
With over 8,600 new foster families needed across the UK in 2021, becoming a foster carer could be the ideal opportunity for those with the right skills to give back to their community and make a positive difference to the lives of children and young people.
Being a foster carer is about more than just providing a nurturing family home for children, it is about having the skills to ensure that you can support their development and growth. Foster carers need to be good listeners and communicators. They need confidence to speak up on behalf of the children in their care, as well as resilience, and patience. Above all they must be able to offer stability and security to children and young people who need it most.
In the past year, and amidst the Covid19 pandemic, over 55,000 foster families provided stable and loving homes to more than 65,000 children across the UK. In recent months The Fostering Network has heard encouraging reports from its members that people across the UK are showing an interest in becoming foster carers having had time to re-evaluate their priorities during lockdown and deciding they want to use the skills, experience and love they have, to benefit others. By becoming a foster carer, individuals become part of a community who are dedicating their lives for the betterment of children and young people.
Kevin Williams, chief executive of The Fostering Network, said: ‘In the face of a global crisis that has affected every one of us, and impacted all aspects of our society, foster carers have worked tirelessly for the children living with them. Foster carers have supported children and young people’s education, health, and social wellbeing, and also helped to maintain the children’s relationships with the people who are important to them but who they have not been able see in person.
‘Despite the practical and emotional challenges that the pandemic has brought, foster carers have continued to provide day-to-day support, love, and stability to children and young people who can’t live with their birth families – and I cannot thank them enough for this.
‘Being a foster carer is to take on a role like no other, so if you are looking for a new challenge in the aftermath of this pandemic and you believe you have the right skills, I want you to consider becoming a foster carer.’
Bryleigh, 23, was approved as a foster carer, alongside her partner Grace, during the pandemic and they currently foster one child.
Bryleigh grew up around fostering, thanks to a family friend who fostered, and when she was 17 her mother decided to become a foster carer too. Bryleigh knew that she wanted to follow in those footsteps and when England went into lockdown in March 2020, she and her partner Grace decided to get the ball rolling.
Bryleigh said: ‘I started the fostering process during the first lockdown, as for the first time in my life I could reflect on what was important to me.
‘Since a very young age, living in and amongst fostering families, I have been hyper-aware of the fact that not all children have a fair chance at life. There seemed as though there was no better time than the present, as the pandemic has really reiterated the importance of family life and helping one another through difficult times.
‘We are excited to give a young person a chance in our home. I have always wanted to help people and been very aware that not everyone has the same opportunities in life.
‘Coronavirus is obviously a very prominent issue and it is scary. However, nothing was stopping us welcoming a child into our home.’
If you believe you have the skills to foster, then visit thefosteringnetwork.org.uk/could-you-foster to find out more and to contact your local fostering service. Training and support are available for all foster carers from their fostering service as well as through The Fostering Network.