People looking for a fresh start in 2022 are being encouraged to consider becoming a foster carer to make a real difference in a local child's life.
Since May 2020 Wiltshire Council has had a campaign to recruit 100 additional foster carers by spring 2023 to help ensure young people who need a loving home have the support they need to face life and its challenges. More than 50 foster carers have already been recruited and more are needed - particularly to foster teenagers.
As January can be the time of year when people look to change a career and take a new direction, people are being reminded fostering is highly rewarding and those who foster are given proper financial support to make it possible.
All foster carers have their own allocated supervising social worker and lots of support from the fostering service and wider council to help them through their journey.
Spencer and Lisa are new foster carers with Wiltshire Council currently fostering a teenage boy.
It's a huge journey - we learned so much during those initial months. We had a social worker come to visit us and speak to us and found out if we were doing it for the right reasons and if it would be right for the children we're looking after and it was something we felt passionately about.
There are going to be additional skills that you are going to need to learn to help you as much as you help a child you foster and you get that support to pick up those skills. You learn so much from fostering teenagers
Ultimately it's got to be for the good of the child and it's for their wellbeing. You want to set them on a journey with the experiences you can teach them in your family. We can't solve the world's problems but we can do our very best for our children and they can go on and do the very best with the stuff they have learnt from us. That's all we can do.
I wouldn't want any couple to think it's going to be easy. It's ultimately fulfilling when it works and you can see the benefits of your experience and training and love and compassion - that won't be just for now it will be for ever. You've touched a part of their lives and the skills you've sent them off with will ultimately help them forever.
You can watch Spencer's video on being a foster carer here.
Cllr Laura Mayes, Cabinet Member for Children's Services, said:
Our children are in need of a stable, loving home which they can rely on so they can grow and flourish and have the confidence for their future. We need more foster carers like Spencer and Lisa to provide this.
January is a time when we think about the future and what the new year may bring. This year, there will be people who have always thought about fostering but have hesitated to take the next step. I want to reassure people that we are here to support you with those first steps, including training, and financially.
From that initial call to find out more, to welcoming the first child into your home, you will not be alone. We have children in Wiltshire who are in need of a stable, loving home that they can rely on, so they can grow and flourish and have the confidence for their future. You could be the one to make that difference.
People interested in becoming a foster carer must:
· Have a spare bedroom
· Be over 21 years
Wiltshire Council will be holding information sessions in January for those interested in fostering. The first will be on Thursday 13 January at 7pm and you can join by visiting the council website. The second will be on Tuesday 26 January at 7pm and you can join online.