Fostering: Worth Talking About

Thurrock Council’s Fostering Team is looking for new carers.

An open evening is being held on Tuesday (9 February) at 7pm at the Park Inn Hotel, North Stifford, for anyone who wants to find out more about the benefits of being a foster carer.

This year’s foster care campaign has a new-look, with new bright, eye-catching posters and leaflets which centre on a talking theme – ‘Talking. It’s what foster relationships are built upon.’

Cllr Sue MacPherson, Thurrock Council’s portfolio holder for Children’s Social Care, said: “As existing carers leave the service, as a council we need to constantly recruit and train new carers.

“The UK is heading for a crisis in foster care due to an impending rise in the shortage of foster carers. The Fostering Network is warning that 65 per cent of foster carers are in their 50s, 60s or 70s.”

She added: “While there is rightly no upper age limit on fostering, these figures suggest that a huge proportion of the fostering workforce might choose to retire over the coming years. Only six per cent are in their 30s, with virtually nobody fostering while in their 20s.

“I want to encourage people who have time to talk and reach out to our young people in Thurrock to take a step in the direction and be a part of this rewarding career.”

The new advertising campaign looks to address this predicted shortfall, as well as tackle some of the common ‘fostering myths’ – there are frequent misconceptions surrounding fostering resulting in many people wrongly discounting themselves as potential carers.

The most common myths include age, ethnicity and status. There is no upper age limit – as long as the person is over 21 years old and medically fit to care for a child, then they can apply to become a foster carer.

The fostering team need carers from all ethnicities, cultures and religions. The children that come into care do so from a variety of different backgrounds.

Another common myth is that single people or single parents cannot foster – applications are welcome from people who are married, single, divorced, in a same-sex relationship, widowed, are a single parent, employed or unemployed.

All applications and circumstance are assessed on an individual basis, but you must have a spare bedroom in your home.

If you would like to have an informal chat with a team member about becoming a foster carer please come along to the Open Evening. A buffet will also be provided. Alternatively, call 01375 652919, email fostering.adoption@thurrock.gov.uk or visit the website www.thurrockfostering.gov.uk

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