Fostering recruitment campaign launched in Essex
ESSEX COUNTY Council has today (Monday January 4) launched a countywide fostering recruitment campaign asking residents if they have the tools to foster a vulnerable child in Essex. There is a national shortage of foster families in England and the reali
ESSEX COUNTY Council has today (Monday January 4) launched a countywide fostering recruitment campaign asking residents if they have the tools to foster a vulnerable child in Essex.
There is a national shortage of foster families in England and the reality is no different in Essex. There are currently 1336 looked after children across the county and although foster care is not suitable for all these children, approximately 900 are in ECC foster placements.
With 650 homes in Essex currently providing foster care, it is estimated that another 100 placements are required if the council is to provide a foster family for each looked after child who needs one.
The new recruitment campaign wants people to realise that if they want to become a foster carer then it is likely they already possess the skills needed - they just need to make the initial step to find out more.
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Deputy leader, Cllr Peter Martin, said: "Our new fostering campaign puts the emphasis back on the carer. It can be a daunting prospect caring for someone else's child but it is a role that is carried out each day by ordinary people who have simply decided to use their everyday skills to do something amazing.
"All you need is a good sense of humour, tolerance, patience and a love of children: if you've got those then fostering could be for you.
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"It is the skills people use everyday that define the foster carers we are looking for - and which we are desperately short of in Essex - entertaining, caring, nurturing, cooking, driving and listening.
"I am certain there are many potential foster carers in Essex who will see this campaign and realise they could help change a child's life."
Essex needs a variety of foster carers to meet the needs of Essex's children. Foster carers can be male, female, single, married or a same sex couple. Regardless of ethnicity, religion, disability or financial status, if you are over 21, have a spare bedroom, a love of children and can commit to being available when the child needs you, you can apply to become a foster carer.
Foster carers are particularly needed for older children, sibling groups and children with disabilities.
Current foster carers say it can take up to a year to make the decision to foster, and as 80 new foster placements are needed a year to maintain current placement levels it is crucial that more carers are attracted to the service.
The council offers foster carers financial rewards in the form of carer's fees, expenses and other benefits that vary depending on the type of placement. Day-to-day support is provided through a 24hr helpline and each foster carer has an allocated social worker. There are many training and development opportunities with the chance to gain qualifications up to NVQ level 3 Childcare Award.
To find out more about becoming a foster carer in Essex, call 0800 801 530 or visit www.essex.gov.uk/fostering