Can you imagine using your skills and experience to turn life around for a child or young person who has experienced years of neglect? The Looking After Each Other campaign is sheding more light onto the importance of fostering in Notts and why you should get involved.
There are many reasons why children and young people can’t stay with their birth families; ill-health, drug or alcohol misuse, imprisonment, domestic violence or physical and sexual abuse. This is something which can have an effect on their emotional and even physical development.
It also takes away their opportunities to experience basic pleasures in life. Things like celebrating their birthday, cooking with other family members, going to the seaside or getting help with their homework.
Fostering with Nottingham City Council is your opportunity to give these children back the stability, guidance and positive memories they need to recover and bounce back from negative experiences in their young lives.
What is fostering like?
It’s true that being a foster carer is a big responsibility, but it can also be seriously rewarding. Fostering is about guiding and listening to a child to help them cope with significant changes in their lives and sharing in their everyday activities.
We asked some carers for one happy memory they have shared with their foster children and they told us:
“To see a child who has been excluded from several schools and very poor attendance and then to see them achieve 7 GCSE’s was great and we continue to see our other children achieving well at school since coming into our care.”
“Every day with our foster child is special and just seeing the improvement in their lives and seeing them happy and feeling secure.”
“Watching the realisation that he could one day go to university was the most emotional moment of my career, something he’d never felt likely or even dreamt of…that’s what I do this for.”
Why get involved in fostering in Notts? We’ve spoken to community hero Dick Collins about his experience with fostering.
When Dick and his wife moved into a bigger house, they decided to take up respite foster care and start giving back to the community. “Respite care is a great temporary way of starting getting involved if you feel nervous” he told us. Once that first step was taken you can get as involved as you feel comfortable with and often it leads to more permanent foster caring.
Does Notts need more foster carers?
As we near the Christmas period it is important to think about those less fortunate, for whom this time of the year is not necessarily linked to happy memories. Dick spoke about the importance of providing ‘safety & security’ for foster children: “We take them to a big family meal and make them feel part of the family. It’s amazing to hear them laughing and enjoying the holidays!”
How can you get involved?
Dick also higlighted the need for foster families throughout the year, not just over the holidays: “There is a desperate urgency for foster families throughout the county – particularly for teenagers – as there are more and more families struggling. If you want to find out more about fostering go to a meeting and ask all the questions you need in order to make an informed decision.”
“It’s all about giving the children a place to thrive and progress. They need to know they are cared for and that it’s not their fault.”
Like in Dick’s case you can start with respite care and see whether you feel comfortable. There are many types of children in need of foster care – from babies through to teenagers – but beginning the process and going through all the checks takes a while and you have time to gather as much information as you need.
If you think you’re cut out for a role as a foster carer, or have family or friends you think would make amazing carers, there are monthly informal information evenings to help with your decision. They’re free to attend and you won’t be pressured into anything if now is your time to get involved in fostering in Notts! To book a place call 0115 876 3335.
Could you be making Christmas special for a child next year? Find out more about fostering here.