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This Foster Care Fortnight, could you help transform children’s lives in Swindon?

Monday 8 May 2017

Swindon Borough Council’s Fostering and Adoption Service is issuing a call for 30 households to consider fostering a child this year, as Foster Care Fortnight 2017 begins across the UK.

Run by fostering charity The Fostering Network, Foster Care Fortnight 2017 takes place from 8 – 21 May, with the aim of encouraging more people to consider becoming a foster carer, showing how people can get involved and celebrating the work of foster carers across the country.

According to The Fostering Network, over 7,000 more people are needed to offer loving, stable and secure homes to children and young people across the UK. Foster carers have a unique chance to make a real difference to a child’s life, helping them develop and achieve their full potential.

Currently recruiting to meet the increased need for fostering placements, Swindon Borough Council is right behind this vital campaign. The greatest need is for foster carers for older children, sibling groups, children with disabilities and unaccompanied asylum seeking children.

The Council is determined to provide Swindon children with the best possible care and this usually means keeping them in Swindon, close to family, friends and schools. That’s why the Council is constantly on the look-out for people who can provide high level support placements in the Swindon area, even for children with the highest level of need.

There are around 140 foster households in the Borough but more are needed to meet demand, which can change at short notice. Fostering opportunities are available on short and long-term placements, from a few days to many years, allowing a lasting bond to flourish.

You don’t need to be a parent to foster, although you do need to have a spare room, and placements can last anything from a few days to many years. Free ongoing training is provided and carers receive payment and allowances to help cover their time and expenses, including extra for Christmas, birthdays and holidays.

Help is available 24/7 to support carers every step of the way, and throughout their fostering career and foster carers can take advantage of continued professional development. Foster carers have their own dedicated social worker who is there to support them in the fostering task.

The 1st of April this year marked a radical change in financing foster care in Swindon, with the introduction of a new foster carer’s payments scheme. To reflect the ever-increasing daily expenses of fostering, the Council’s new fostering package offers is fully in line with Independent Fostering Agency rates.

This can range between £200 - £750 per week dependent on the skills and experience of the foster carer and the number of children fostered by them.

On top of this the council offers many extra benefits such as annual leave pay, school uniform allowance, help with the cost of new furniture for children in care and a whole range of financial assistance to ensure Swindon children can be well cared    for.

Do you have the skills and qualities we are looking for? If you feel you could provide a home for a child we will initially come and meet you at your home and discuss the process with you. It usually takes four – six months to become a foster carer with an in-depth assessment taking place to help us and you understand if this is the right thing for you to do, and understand what type of fostering best suits your skills and family situation.

Cllr Fionuala Foley, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “Foster Care Fortnight is an opportunity to bring fostering into sharp focus and remind people that we have an ongoing waiting list of young people who need fostering in the           Borough.

“Our foster carers fulfil a really important role throughout the year and I want to take this opportunity to recognise their fantastic contribution. Anyone who feels they can give some time, love and care to youngsters from a variety of backgrounds should contact us to see what’s on offer and how to go about signing up to be a foster carer. They won’t regret it and it’s hugely rewarding.”

To find out more, go to our fostering website at www.swindon.gov.uk/fostering, call us on (01793) 464329 or email: fosteringrecruitment@swindon.gov.uk

For more information about fostering and its fantastic rewards, check out the Foster Care Fortnight website at thefosteringnetwork.org.uk/get-involved/foster-care-fortnight/foster-care-fortnight-2017  

 Swindon Borough Council Fostering and Adoption Service is dedicated to placing over 200 children in foster homes each year.

The Fostering Network is the UK’s leading fostering charity. They are passionate about the difference foster care makes to children and young people. Transforming fostered children’s lives is at the heart of everything they do.

Foster Care Fortnight is The Fostering Network's annual campaign to raise the profile of fostering and to show how foster care transforms lives. It is also the UK's biggest foster carer recruitment campaign. Foster Care Fortnight 2017 is taking place from Monday 8 to Sunday 21 May.

Overall, at least 7,180 new foster families are needed across the UK during 2017 according to figures released today (8 May) by The Fostering Network