It’s Foster Care Fortnight from 11-24 May, and this year the need for foster carers in East Ayrshire is greater than ever. With the theme of ‘This Is Fostering’, the fortnight aims to get people thinking about how foster care can literally transform the lives of children and young people.
East Ayrshire Council’s fostering team is looking for people who can care for single children or sibling groups of all ages from birth to 18 years. It can be hard for children to be separated from brothers and sisters at such a stressful time in their lives and the team would like, wherever they can, to have siblings live together in the same foster household. As well as helping them be a great comfort to each other, it also allows them to have new positive experiences together and to build new shared memories.
Although there is a minimum age requirement of 21 to become a foster carer, there is no maximum age limit. You don’t have to be married either - single people, cohabiting and same sex couples can apply. Fostering can even be a full-time occupation; what’s important is that you can give a child a positive family experience.
Some children only need care for a short time until they can return home or to a new family. If they can’t return home, they live with a permanent foster family or their foster carer helps them to prepare to move to their adoptive family.
You will not be on your own as a foster carer but will be part of the ‘Team Around the Child’ you care for. Each foster carer has a supervising social worker who meets their carer a minimum of once every four weeks to offer support. New carers are linked with a Buddy who is an experienced carer. There are also regular Foster Carer support groups as well as a Men in Fostering group.
East Ayrshire Fostering offers a wide range of training opportunities and you will also receive a fee and allowance to help you care for the child or children.
Despite the current coronavirus situation, the Council is still recruiting foster carers and is available to discuss any questions people may have regarding fostering. So if you’ve ever thought about fostering, please call 0800 434 6633 and speak to a member of the team who will be able to give you more details about starting the journey to become a foster carer. You can also visit www.fosteringandadoption.org.uk to find out more.