A new drive is underway to find foster carers able to take vulnerable young people in care under their wing and offer them a loving home.
John and Louise are 'pathway' foster carers and have spoken out about their experiences in a bid to encourage others to join them in offering love and stability to vulnerable young people in care.
Leicestershire County Council is looking for people to foster young people over the age of 10 who may have previously been in residential care, due to a shortage of foster carers, to help them adjust and consider their next steps in life.
Carers in this professional role generally have experience and skills working with young people through jobs in caring professions, such as health and social care, education and the police.
Louise (38), who previously worked as a custody officer for the police, said: “We both wanted to offer a good, loving and secure home to whoever comes along, giving them a chance to thrive and belong as a family.
“I first got the idea to foster when I worked in the custody suite, seeing young children coming in as young as 10, and teenagers, and watching the difficulties involved in getting them a place to stay for the night. I wanted to take them all home with me.
“I have more resilience than I ever thought I would have – having had no experience at all in bringing up children myself.”
John (42), who also worked for the police and has four grown-up children, said: “Our first placement was a 13-year-old boy, who came to us from an abusive background. I’ve been told by him that I’m his ‘first dad’ and we have good times – and bad.
“Most importantly for me is getting to understand him, help him to open up and make him feel wanted.”
Louise added: “It’s so worth it when we see him laugh and share new experiences with him.”
Leicestershire’s young people need and deserve to grow up in a family environment, where they’re cared for and supported to find their place in the world.Person:Deborah Taylor, Leicestershire County Council cabinet member for children and families
We know lots of people are reassessing their careers at the moment and there will be lots of people in the county with the right experience to be a specialist foster carer.
Think about the skills you’ve developed through what you do for a living and whether you could use those to change a young person’s life.
Pathway foster carers receive generous financial allowances, bespoke training and 24/7 support from the council’s Dedicated Placement Support Team.
If you have a spare bedroom, with no children under 18 living at home and the experience to help change a young person’s life, find out more about well-paid and professional specialist foster carer roles at Leicestershire County Council by calling 0116 305 05 05
You can watch a video with John and Louise here: https://youtu.be/KvN4CvBNFpI