An appeal has been launched to find people who are willing to ‘foster without having to say goodbye’ in Leicestershire.
There has been an increase in the need for long-term foster carers for primary school aged children in Leicestershire.
More children have entered the care of Leicestershire County Council over the last two years. There are now 126 children aged five to nine in care in the county - up by 15 per cent since 2018.
Out of these, there are 10 children who are waiting for their long-term fostering families, including six-year-old Ricki who loves the outdoors and Sarah, a 10-year-old who loves animals.
Long-term fostering means that the child will still remain in care but will be able to stay with their fostering family until they reach adulthood. Their ages vary from four to 14 and some may still have contact with their family.
They will, however, have the security of being part of a foster family and a sense of belonging - and the foster cares continue to receive the support from the local authority.
“Watching a child grow up becoming more themselves and feel safe and loved with their foster family is wonderful. You don’t have to be an expert to be a great foster parent, just a caring and understanding person, who can offer patience and support.
“We need long-term fostering families who can provide love, safety and commitment to a child growing up in care and support them into adulthood. This is ‘fostering without having to say goodbye’ to the child, as they remain in your family.
"I would encourage anyone curious about fostering, to come forward and find out how they can make a difference.”Person:Councillor Deborah Taylor, the county council’s cabinet member for children and families
Ricki* is in need of a longer-term foster family. He loves riding on his bike and going on nature walks. He likes open spaces where he can run around and feel free to explore. A family who enjoys a walk through a country park or has pets who are good with children would be a great fit for him.
Sarah* is 10 years old and loves animals. She is very creative and has recently enjoyed rock climbing lessons which helped her to be more adventurous. Sarah experienced neglect when she lived with her family, but she is now really enjoying being cared for by her fostering family and loves Friday pizza nights.
Foster carers don’t need specialist knowledge. Simple things such as knowing who is picking them up from school and having a clean uniform could make such a difference to a child.
Many children like Sarah are trying to navigate growing up, find out what they like to do and want to be part of a loving family. Long-term fostering or ‘permanency’ can ensure that these children have a safe, secure and stable home for the longer term.
Foster carers must be over the age of 21 and have a spare room in their home. To find out more, visit www.fosteringleicestershire.com or call the Fostering Team for an informal chat on 0116 3050505.
You can also join the council’s next virtual Find Out About Fostering event in the new year. All information will be on the council’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/fosteringleicestershire
*names have been changed to protect their identities