Transform lives this Foster Care Fortnight

Published: Monday 8th May 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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The UK’s annual campaign to raise the profile of fostering begins today. We spoke to the Hull Fostering team to find out more.

An estimated 9,000 new foster families are needed across the UK during the next 12 months, to care for a range of children.

“You can make such a difference to a child’s life by becoming a foster carer,” Andrea Lewis, Hull Foster Group Manager, tells us.

“We’re the largest agency in the UK, providing foster care in the local area through 330+ households.”

The Hull Fostering team has carers across the whole of Hull, East Yorkshire, North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire. They are constantly approving new additions throughout the year, with over 700 children currently in foster care in the local area.

The greatest need is for those willing to foster older children, sibling groups, disabled children and unaccompanied asylum seeking children:

“We need carers from each type of background,” Andrea explains. “However, at the moment there is a great demand for those who wish to foster over 5s, siblings and teenagers.”

Although the process may at first seem a little daunting, Jamie Hall, Recruitment and Marketing Officer, urges anyone considering fostering to get in touch for an initial chat:

“We encourage you to give us a call if you are interested. There’s no commitment at this stage.”

“We will just send you an information pack so you can absorb the information and see if fostering is right for you,” Jamie explains.

“We will then contact you in a couple of weeks to have a further chat with you about whether you are still keen to foster.”

Hull Fostering will ask a few questions about your circumstances and find out a bit more about you.

“There are some myths surrounding the requirements to be a foster carer, but we do accept people from all sorts of backgrounds,” continues Jamie.

“For example, we have people contacting us thinking that they can’t foster because of their circumstances. You can both have full-time jobs and still foster. You can be receiving benefits and foster.”

The basic requirements to become a foster parent with Hull Fostering include being over the age of 21, having a spare room at home, and living within 35 miles of the city.

Additionally, Jamie describes a good foster carer as being patient, understanding, and having a genuine commitment to making a difference in a child’s life.

You will be invited to a presentation morning, where you can listen and talk with some of the foster carers, as well as the team.

“At this stage, we would ask again if are you still interested in fostering. You don’t have to be fully committed at this point,” Jamie points out.

If you are still eager to get involved, the foster team requests a home visit, where they can look at your situation and see what type of fostering is right for you.

“There are so many different ways to get involved with fostering. You can choose one that suits you and your daily life,” Jamie maintains.

“It’s up to you whether you want to offer short-term placements for children or provide a home for a child for the rest of their life.”

If you decide you still want to go ahead, an assessment will be carried out. This can take up to 14 weeks but can be shorter. During this period, the potential foster families get to know additional details and receive any training they might need.

“At this point, there will be a bit of paperwork to fill out. We appoint a social worker to visit the family. They will do about six or seven home visits and collect information to go to the Fostering Panel.”

You will be approved as a foster carer if you pass the assessment.

“The next step is to work with a social worker to find the right child for your family,” Jamie adds.

Whilst the process may seem lengthy, Jamie assures us that it is worthwhile for all involved:

“At the end of the day, there are lots of children out there who just want somewhere safe and loving to call their home. So if you’re thinking about fostering, get in touch with us and find out if it’s right for you.”

You can request an information pack by texting “Foster” to 82055 (standard rate applies). Alternatively, message the Hull Fostering team on Facebook, email fostering@hullcc.gov.uk, or call 01482 612800. For more information, please visit the Hull City Council website.

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Published: Monday 8th May 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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