Foster carers take centre stage for national campaign

Staffordshire’s foster carers are taking centre stage for this year’s Foster Care Fortnight celebrations which start on Monday 9 May.

Bonny Sandford and Jayne Vause are leading the county’s celebrations for the annual event, to raise the profile of fostering and highlight the urgent need for more foster carers.

This year’s theme is ‘Fostering Communities’, which will highlight not only the amazing support that families provide for children but also for other foster carers. More experienced carers are now supporting other families new to fostering through mentoring, training and support groups.

Talking about the campaign, Bonny, who fosters with her husband Dave said: We really enjoy fostering and seeing the difference you can make to a local child.

“Fostering is a great thing to do. We would encourage anyone who is thinking about fostering to just go for it, find out more and take that step. The training is excellent and there are local support groups, so you become part of a real fostering community. Most of all, you make a real difference to a child’s life, which is the most amazing feeling.”

Jayne Vause, who fosters with her husband Alan, has over 25 years experience as a foster carer and has done most types of fostering. Jayne added: “We have loved being foster carers with the council.

“Fostering is such a rewarding thing to do because it makes a huge difference to the children you care for. There are also lots of different types of fostering to choose from and options that suit all kinds of family life. You are never on your own as a foster carer and there is always local support and a friendly face available. If you have ever thought about fostering but not yet taken that first step, I’d urge you to go for it.”

Throughout the fortnight, local foster carers will be joining ‘Reggie’ the Fostering Service’s promotional bus as it tours the county. Reggie Roadshows will be visiting the following towns:

Stafford Market Square – Monday 9th May
Leek (Outside Co-op Bank) – Tuesday 10th May
Lichfield Market Square – Wednesday 11th May
Uttoxeter Dovefields Carpark– Thursday 12th May
Tamworth, Outside St Editha’s Church – Friday 13th May
Stone High Street (Outside B & M)– Monday 16th May
Cheadle Tape Street Car Park – Tuesday 17th May
Inside Burton Coopers Square Shopping Centre (Outside M & S) – Wednesday 18th May
Cannock Market Square – Thursday 19th May
Newcastle Iron Market Square – Friday 20th May

Mark Sutton, Cabinet Member responsible for Children and Young People at Staffordshire County Council, explained that in Staffordshire a further 60 foster families are needed this year.

Mark said: “Our foster carers do a wonderful job helping to transform children’s lives every day but I’m also very proud of the support they provide to each other.

“We do have an urgent need for more foster carers in Staffordshire and Foster Care Fortnight gives us the perfect opportunity to encourage more people to come forward. We have a strong fostering community in the county and once again it’s great to see our own foster carers being the stars of the campaign.

“If fostering is something you’re considering, then please do come along to one of our events and hear first hand from real foster carers what a rewarding thing it is to do.”

All Staffordshire foster carers receive an induction programme including preapproval training, to prepare them to foster and then ongoing opportunities to develop their skills, so they are equipped with the skills they need to care for the children in their care.

A Facebook live stream question and answer session will also take place on Friday 13th May at 1pm. People can join at facebook.com/fosterforstaffs.

Anyone interested in fostering with Staffordshire County Council can find out more at www.fosterforstaffordshire.co.uk or by calling 0800 169 2061.

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