South Gloucestershire Council appeals for more foster carers to come forward
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We have today launched an appeal to encourage people to consider fostering one or more of the 170 children in our care, and urge people not to rule themselves out.
Previous campaigns have found that many people say they would like to become foster carers but feel they will not be accepted because of their age, the size of their house or other circumstances. We are inviting people to come along to an open evening at our Badminton Road offices on Thursday 25 September to learn more and to help dispel some of the myths. Call 01454 866423 for more details.
Tracy Allison, Head of Integrated Children’s Services at South Gloucestershire Council, said: “Feedback on our Facebook page suggests that too many people who would like to be foster carers have ruled themselves out, feeling that they will be rejected because of their circumstances.
“In reality there are few restrictions on who can foster. Foster carers come from a very wide range of ages and backgrounds and receive regular support and training to give them the skills necessary to help children and young people through difficult times.
“Although fostering can present many challenges, most of our carers say that it is the most rewarding, worthwhile job they’ve ever done. We need families who are resilient, flexible and won’t give up on a child at the first hurdle, and are committed to helping young people through a difficult time in their lives.”
Sue, 56, and David Sandmann, 70, live near Cribbs Causeway and have been fostering for nearly two years.
“It was something we always wanted to do” said Sue. “Our own children had moved away and we decided to do it.
“I was never worried that we would be considered too old, but thought that there may be problems because of our own family background, both of us having been married before and our children being a mix of step brothers and sisters. We are also Christians. But none of that mattered.
“We were very open and honest with our social worker when we went through the process of becoming fosterers, and the more things we discussed about our own pasts the more we realised how much life experience we could bring. We learned a lot about each other, and we enjoyed it.
“We initially fostered a young mum and her baby. Recently we have fostered a young man. It has been a challenging but a very rewarding experience.
“We have really enjoyed fostering, even when situations have been difficult. Young people can be far from perfect, but my advice to anyone interested is to go and find out more, and if you decide to go ahead and become a fosterer, stick with it and you will find it is well worth it.”
“We had talked about fostering, but our own children didn’t like the idea,” added David. “The fostering course provided by South Gloucestershire Council was excellent. We discovered we could bring a lot of experience of life to fostering, and we are still learning more and more all the time.
“We now foster a 17 year old. He has so much potential. He could do so much, and I know we are helping him and making a positive difference to his life.
“We are going to keep on fostering because we enjoy it. I’ve always had a strong work ethic. Young people often have low horizons, goals and self worth. Helping someone to break out of that cycle is very rewarding,” he said.
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