Anyone interested in becoming a foster carer can find out everything they need to know at monthly drop-in sessions starting on April 25. The sessions are being organised by Fostering First which is responsible for foster care across the Island and part of The Children’s Centre charity. Currently, there are 50 registered foster carers on the Island – but more are needed to provide long-term care, short-term support for children who eventually return home, and respite care for families that have children with specific needs. All of the monthly drop-in sessions will be held at Bourne House, 97 Woodbourne Road, Douglas, which is the headquarters for Fostering First. The first one is on Friday April 25 from 10am to 1pm. Nigel Howard, Deputy Manager at Fostering First, said:
“The drop-in sessions are very relaxed and informal and an ideal opportunity for anyone who is thinking about becoming a foster carer to come along, have a chat with our experienced team and current foster carers, and raise any questions they have. We would never pretend that becoming a foster carer is an easy decision to make, but it can also be incredibly rewarding for foster carers to see a child flourish in life because of the loving environment they have provided. Of course, we are always happy to hear from anyone interested in becoming a foster carer at any time, but the monthly drop-in sessions offer an opportunity to come and talk to us in person and give us more time to cover all of the issues which potential foster carers will want to discuss.”
Foster carers can come from a wide range of backgrounds and it’s not essential for them to have parenting experience. However, some experience and knowledge of children is beneficial. What all foster carers must be is caring and understanding, and possess the ability and desire to help a child grow emotionally. Foster carers must be over 21 (there is no upper age limit), and they can be married, divorced or single, or co-habiting. It does not matter whether or not they own their own home. All foster carers (especially those new to fostering) receive training, help, and support from Fostering First as well as financial remuneration to cover the expenses of caring for a child.
There are several types of fostering. Short term fostering may be for a few weeks to several months, and includes providing emergency care when a child needs to be looked after at short notice; and short breaks for children with disabilities. Long term fostering is for when a child is unable to return home; and Friends and Family Foster Care is when a relative or family friend becomes a foster carer for a child who cannot be looked after by their parents.
Dates and times for drop-in sessions in the coming months are May 23 – 10am-1pm; June 26 – 5pm-7.30pm; July 25 – 10am-1pm; August 29 – 10am-1pm; September 25 – 5pm-7.30pm; October 24 – 10am-1pm; November 21 – 10am -1pm; December 12 – 10am-1pm. To find out more about fostering just attend one of the drop-in sessions or contact Fostering First, Family Placement Services, Bourne House, 97 Woodbourne Road, Douglas, or call 631947, or email email@example.com