Could you be a foster carer?
- Credit: Archant
More foster families are needed in North Somerset, with the district feeling the impact of a national carer shortage.
There are about 200 children in care at the moment in North Somerset and 70 fostering families.
Across the South West, there is a shortage of about 600 families looking to take in children, according to The Fostering Network.
North Somerset Council social worker Charlotte Moore said: “There is a shortage of foster carers nationally. We have seen a rise in recruitment and we just want to keep that up.
“We always want to place our children using our foster carers, and if we don’t we have to use an independent fostering agency.
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“We know our foster carers and the children stay local, and it costs us more money using outside agencies.”
June Macleod decided to become a foster carer after leaving her job as a community worker.
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She said: “I am nearly 60 and I have decided to foster.
“What you need to ask yourself is, are you able to open your home up to children who need a family? You have to look at what your strengths are and what you can bring.
“You can be a person living on your own or at the centre of a very busy family home. You could be in your early 20s or late 50s like me. For me it was a career choice.”
But for fellow foster carer Rachel, the decision to open her home to a child in need was not a career choice, but something to give her a new challenge when her own children got older.
She said: “My youngest was 11 or 12 and didn’t need me as much and another child was about to move out.
“I wanted to do something else and I love children.
“I am a mum of three – I don’t have any training but I have a lot of experience with children. It’s taken me five years of fostering to know that is a skill itself.
“You don’t have to have qualifications, you just have to be nurturing.”
To become a carer, all you need is to be over 21 and have a spare room.
To request an information pack on fostering, email email@example.com or call 01275 888999.
If you choose to proceed, the council will arrange a time to pay you a visit at home.