Transform your life – become a foster carer
Oxfordshire residents are being asked to consider transforming their lives - and those of vulnerable children - by becoming a foster carer.
The county council is appealing for more people to come forward or find out more during national Foster Care Fortnight
The council currently has more than 230 registered foster carers looking after children in Oxfordshire, but needs more to come forward to enable more children to be placed with local families.
Fostering Service Manager Teresa Rogers said: “The need to recruit new foster carers is an ongoing challenge for all councils. In Oxfordshire we have seen the number of looked after children increasing in recent years, and the majority of these children will, at some point, need a foster home.
“Although we are able to provide a foster placement for every child who needs one, like many other councils we often have to call on external agency providers, sometimes based outside the county. Wherever possible, we want our children to stay close to family, friends and local schools, as this helps provide the stability that they need.”
She added: “There are huge rewards in being able to make a difference to a young person’s life. The council also offers excellent training and support, as well as financial allowances."
Find out more
Anyone interested in becoming a foster carer or to find out more, visit www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/fostering
Tel: 0800 7835724
"Time and understanding"
Foster carer Shirley Gelleburn, from Banbury, looks after two children with additional needs. She said: “I never saw myself as a carer of anyone with additional needs, I had always seen parents of these children as superhuman and with special skills and thought I could never do that, be that good. I thought I wasn't skilled enough but no one starts off with those skills, they are skills that grow from being an advocate for your child.
“Time and understanding of the children gave me the knowledge and drive to support them. Speaking to school staff and social workers also enabled me to get the support I needed.
“It turns out the only skills I needed to have to care for a child with additional needs was patience, empathy and the drive to do my best. You don't have to be superhuman to be a special needs carer, you just have to want to make a difference. Fostering is a great thing to do, I would say to anyone thinking about it - just do it!”
The council is looking for foster families for children of all ages and with a range of needs:
- Teenagers – 50 per cent of children in care in Oxfordshire are 10 years and over with teenage placements being a priority
- Sibling groups - we aim to place together rather than apart
- Babies and toddlers –need to be placed with foster carers who are at home full time
- Children with disabilities – could you embrace the challenges and rewards of fostering a child with physical or learning difficulties?
- Children with specialist fostering needs – our most vulnerable children who are part of our specialist fostering schemes.
Some fostering facts:
- There is no age limit to foster - to foster you have to be over 18. We have foster carers who are still fostering in their 70s
- Single? Not a problem - children need stable loving homes, with single parents or couples, whatever their gender or sexual orientation
- Disabilities or not, you can still foster - health problems and disabilities will not stop you from fostering, provided you can care for the children
- No ethnic matching - there are children from many different backgrounds needing to be fostered, what is important is that you can meet the needs of the child
Tel: 0800 7835724