Support pledged for fostering

By Nub News Reporter

2nd Jun 2024 | Local News

Suffolk is taking part in a new initiative for fostering under the banner Foster East.

There is an urgent need for foster carers in the East of England with more than 7,000 vulnerable children already in the care of their local authority, and a further 150 children coming into care every month.

The Foster East initiative which is funded by the Department of Education and launched on Wednesday, 29 May 2024, is a new, collaborative approach to foster carer recruitment and support.

Councils will work together to provide more comprehensive training, support and best practice. Each applicant will be nurtured through their fostering journey with their local council and via a buddy network. Foster East advisors will help people find out how fostering can become part of their life.

In Suffolk there are more than 900 children and young people ranging from babies to 18-year-olds who need safe, loving and nurturing homes where they can thrive and develop. Every local authority aims to keep children and young people local to their support networks, but a shortage of foster families in our area means this is not always possible.

Fostering is a flexible role with options for short term care from a weekend a month to longer term opportunities, all providing life-changing support for local children.

Councillor Bobby Bennett, Suffolk County Council's Cabinet Member for Children and Young People's Services, said: "Through the Foster East Partnership, we are united in our ambition to provide more loving foster families for children in their local area.

"By fostering with your local council, you are supporting children, teenagers and families from your own communities. This means you are helping to minimise the disruption to their lives: staying local means that children can continue to attend their usual school, see their friends and family members, and participate in their usual activities, whilst having the support they need in a safe home environment.

"We always have opportunities to foster children of any age, including sibling groups, but we currently have a particular need for carers to look after teenagers who are 11+. Welcoming a young teenager into your home means becoming their role model and guide. You will help them navigate their teenage years through to their independence.

"We provide in-depth training and support to ensure our foster parents can care with confidence. Because we know our children and our carers, we can take care to match the right child to the right family, where they can thrive."

Foster carers working for independent fostering agencies are also invited to transfer to their local council via Foster East. They will benefit from local training, and a linked foster carers support network which will offer support for foster families needing a short break.

Foster East will give people considering fostering the opportunity to speak to an advisor from 8am to 8pm daily, and the chance to talk to an experienced foster carer to find out more about what the role involves and ask any questions they may have. More information can be found on the Foster East website.


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