EVENTS and initiatives are being planned across Cambridgeshire to support national Foster Care Fortnight, which runs from May 14 to 27.
Foster Care Fortnight is a national campaign organised by the Fostering Network. Cambridgeshire County Council will be supporting the campaign this year by organising a number of awareness raising events and activities across the county.
In Cambridgeshire there are currently 184 fostering households providing 261 placements, but the county needs a further 55 to help meet the needs of the children and young people in its care.
This need is reflected nationally with the Fostering Network estimating that fostering services across the UK need a further 8,750 foster families in 2012.
Cambridgeshire’s foster carers look after children who, for a variety of reasons, are unable to live with their birth families. These reasons can range from a family member’s short-term illness to a parent’s mental health problems or drug and alcohol abuse. Many children have been neglected or suffered another form of abuse.
Some children will need to be looked after for only a short time until they can return home, while others will stay with foster carers longer term.
Carers provide children with a stable, supportive and loving home and are responsible for their day-to-day care. They may also have to help children come to terms with difficult or traumatic experiences. Experienced social workers are available to offer support and training to all carers.
As part of Foster Care Fortnight, promotional stands will be visiting Morrisons supermarket in Cambourne on May 19 and Asda in Cambridge’s Beehive Centre on 24 May. Staff will also be available to talk to potential foster carers at Cambridge Central Library on 26 May.
Leisure centres and information shops in Fenland and Huntingdonshire will also be displaying a range of information about fostering.
Foster Care Fortnight coincides with the launch of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Foster Friendly employment policy. The policy offers flexibility in working hours and compassionate leave arrangements for employees who foster, along with other benefits and support.
Cambridgeshire County Council is urging other local organisations to take a similar approach to supporting employees who foster as small adjustments in areas such as working hours and leave entitlement could help encourage more potential carers to apply.
Anyone who would like more information about becoming a foster carer can contact Cambridgeshire County Council’s Fostering and Adoption service on 0800-0520078 or log onto the parenting pages of Cambridgeshire County Council’s website at: www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/childrenandfamilies/parenting
Councillor David Brown, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said; “We hope Foster Care Fortnight will encourage more people in Cambridgeshire to consider becoming foster carers and help make a real difference to the lives of local children and young people. We are also delighted to be launching Cambridgeshire County Council’s Foster Friendly policy, which recognises the level of commitment involved in being a foster carer, and offers increased support to our County Council employees who foster.”