This week and next it’s Foster Care Fortnight and Cornwall’s Fostering Service is urging people to come forward as potential foster carers for older children and teenagers.
Foster carers look after children and young people who are unable to live with their families. This can be due to a number of reasons, including the illness of a parent or other member of the family, family relationships problems or because they have been the victim of abuse or neglect.
At present, there is an urgent need for foster carers to care for older children and teenagers and also a need for people who can care for a child or young person permanently, until they reach independence. There are currently 422 children and young people in care in Cornwall, and some 60% of those are teenagers.
In Cornwall there are over 270 families who foster, but more are urgently needed. Foster carers help some of the most vulnerable children and young people by providing guidance, stability and love.
Emma and Tim are foster carers in Cornwall and they care for older children and teenagers. Emma says” We had always thought about fostering and as our own children grew up and left home we had spare rooms. All children in care have experienced having a difficult time, and we all know being a teenager is a difficult time, to combine the two is never boring, but is also really rewarding as long as you can approach everything with calmness, understanding and its essential to have a good sense of humour. We have a very busy life but we have so much fun.
“Without fostering I doubt that at the age of 58 I would have been having my first Segway session! Both myself and Martin love what we gain from the children, we are always trying to do the best for the children and help them achieve the best for themselves, but in doing that you have such an enriched life that you gain as well.”
14 year old Ethan is fostered by Emma and Tim, along with his siblings. Of being cared for by Emma and Tim. Ethan says: Being in care is quite relaxed and stress free and it’s good that we still get to have contact with our birth Mum without the worries that came with living with her. It’s like a two homes really; somewhere where you can stay and feel safe with the same upbringing as any other parent would give their child.
“Being in care isn’t as bad as some people think, because foster parents accept your choices and decisions and take into account what you have to say. You get the same support as you would in a functioning family. Our foster parent’s family makes us feel that we are part of their family. It’s good and I enjoy my foster family. I’m in a permanent home along with my sisters and it means we won’t be moved to other foster carers we will always stay in the home we have now.”
Alison Waters is the Service Manage for the Fostering and Adoption Service. “Many people have misconceptions about fostering, and don’t realise that some of the most rewarding experiences can be when caring for a teenager, or offering a child a permanent home. Many of our children and young people live with the same foster family throughout their childhood, and this gives them great security and emotional permanence.
“All of our foster carers get comprehensive training and support and there is a continual development programme that covers a wide range of subjects. “
To find out more about becoming a foster carer call the Fostering Team on 01872 323 638 or visit www.fosterincornwallco.uk