Could you become a foster parent and support vulnerable children across the area?
PUBLISHED: 08:00 13 May 2017
© Tim Gander 2017. All rights reserved. Tel: 07703 124412
A new appeal has been launched for people to take on the 'amazing' challenge of becoming a foster carer and look after vulnerable children.
Five Rivers Fostering – an independent care agency – hopes to persuade more people to help hundreds of youngsters in their hour of need as part of Foster Care Fortnight.
Sue and Peter Houghton live in Weston-super-Mare and have been fostering for five years.
Sue worked in sales but when her sister Grace began fostering, she was ‘drawn’ by the opportunity to support young people in need.
Sue and Peter have fostered 26 children over the past five years, with many of them coming on emergency placements at very short notice.
After four years working as foster carers, they moved to the Five Rivers Fostering.
Sue said: “Fostering can be a rollercoaster of rewards and challenges.
“I have had some difficult situations but, on the other hand, I have had some amazing, life-changing experiences.
“I have met and become friends with other foster carers in the area. It is important to be around people who know what you are going through and can offer empathy and support.”
Sue and Peter still keep in regular contact with some of the children they have cared for, including three girls who are now living with their mother.
More than 600 carers are needed in the South West to cope with the growing demand as more children are in need of emergency, respite and long-term homes.
Emergency foster carers look after children on very short notice while respite carers look after for children when their long-term carers have other commitments, such as a family holiday or a funeral.
Long-term carers could have a child staying with them for months or even years.
Nicci Willock, director of fostering services at Five Rivers, said: “Being a foster carer requires a great amount of patience, empathy and compassion.
“Foster Care Fortnight is an important reminder that there is currently a huge shortage of foster carers across the UK.”
The appeal follows a campaign launched by North Somerset Council in January.
For more information about fostering, visit www.five-rivers.org or call 01173 216936.