Council launches ‘fostering-friendly’ campaign
The aim is to create the best possible environment for foster carers by harnessing wider support and building greater recognition for the special role foster carers play in society.
Partner organisations are being invited to pledge support by signing a ‘Fostering Friendly Covenant’, which sets out their commitment to supporting staff, volunteers or members who foster, and to promoting foster care more widely.
Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Families Melinda Tilley said: “Foster carers play a vital role in the community, caring for some of our most vulnerable children and working as part of a team of professionals to help transform their lives. In return, foster carers deserve the support and respect of society as a whole.
“Part of that is recognising that foster carers should not be disadvantaged compared to other citizens and special consideration is appropriate in some cases, especially for those caring for children with additional needs.”
“All organisations – public, private or voluntary – as well as the actions of individuals, can play their part. For employers that could mean having the flexibility to ensure foster carers’ training and caring commitments can be accommodated, and being sensitive to the demands of the role.
“More generally, by promoting greater recognition of the special role foster carers play in society, we can all help to create a ‘fostering friendly’ ethos which both strengthens support for our existing foster carers and encourages more people to consider fostering themselves.”
More foster carers needed
The number of children coming into the council’s care is rising and most of these children will at some point need to be placed with a foster family.
The majority of children are successfully placed with the council’s ‘in-house’ foster carers, but when this cannot be done, children have to be placed with independent fostering agencies – sometimes outside the county.
This is not only more expensive, but means children are potentially further away from family and friends.
Greater choice of placement
Cllr Tilley said: “The council’s fostering team works very hard to recruit, train and support foster carers, but like most other parts of the country, there is a need for more people to come forward.
“We want to increase our pool of ‘in-house’ foster carers to create greater choice of placement for children within Oxfordshire, and to enable more children to stay closer to home.
She added: “We don’t have a set recruitment target because the picture is constantly changing – quite simply, we want to be able to offer a local family for every child that needs one, so the more people we can persuade to consider fostering, the better. Oxfordshire is by no means alone in this challenge but we believe the county is well placed to meet it.”
Find out more
To find out more about becoming a fostering friendly organisation please call 0800 783 5724 or visit our 'fostering friendly' page
Anyone interested in becoming a foster carer should call 0800 783 5724.
The following have already signed the Covenant
- Oxfordshire County Council
- Oxford City Council
- Oxford Health
- Home For Good (fostering and adoption charity)
- Fitzwaryn School (The Propeller Academy Trust)
- Bishop of Dorchester