Help support young people by becoming a Cambridgeshire foster carer
People thinking of changing career after redundancy or because they want a better work-life balance are being asked to consider foster care by Cambridgeshire County Council.
The fostering service, which is jointly run by the county council and Peterborough City Council, is looking for enthusiastic, committed people to come forward and consider fostering children and young people in need, as both unemployment and the demand for foster carers is on the rise.
There are 1,000 children and young people in care across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, with the greatest need being for 10 to 15-year olds, sibling groups, and children with disabilities.
Both councils have around 301 local foster carers, although more are needed to ensure children can remain close to their friends, school and extended family.
Cllr Bryony Goodliffe, chair of the county council’s children and young people’s committee, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has presented unique challenges to us all and has made us reflect on how we can do the most good in our working and personal lives.
“We would be delighted to welcome new dedicated and compassionate members to our fantastic team of foster carers, not only to provide homes to the children and young people in our area who need it the most, but also to provide fulfilling careers to our growing family.”
Foster carers can come from a diverse range of backgrounds, cultures and ages. They can be unemployed, working or retired and be living in rented accommodation or own their own home. People who want to apply must simply be over the age of 21, have a spare bedroom in their home and have an empathetic, caring, and resilient nature.
The council’s fostering service offers a wide range of support and benefits to ensure their foster carers have everything they need to care for their foster child.
Allowances paid to foster carers depend upon a combination of the age of the child, how many children you care for and your level of experience and skills.
They range from £7,800 to £22,360 for one child, £15,600 to £44,720 for two children, and £23,400 to £67,080 for three children.
Foster carers are also paid a mileage allowance, setting up fee for furniture and equipment, a holiday allowance, a birthday allowance, a festivities allowance, initial clothing, and school uniform allowance.
Foster carers will also have a dedicated allocated supervising social worker who will provide regular supervision and support.
The council’s fostering service urgently needs to find homes for sibling groups (brothers and sisters), children above the age of 10 years, children with disabilities, complex health and emotional needs, and children needing permanent or long-term placements.
For more details, text FOSTERING to 60777, call the fostering team on 0800 052 0078, or see cambridgeshire.gov.uk/fostering.
‘Caring for mum made me realise I should change career’
A Cambridgeshire mum has revealed how caring for her own mother who was suffering with dementia meant she needed to change career to work closer to home and discovered fostering fitted in with her family.
Cathy, 48, provides respite care for families of children with disabilities between the ages of five and 18.
Cathy, who has previously worked in residential children’s homes as well as caring for adults with special needs in the community, wanted to combine her knowledge and skills and provide family-based care to children with complex needs and find meaningful work that did not require her to be away from home.
She became a Link foster carer and has never looked back.
“My thoughts first turned to fostering when caring for my mum, who had developed dementia, which made working away difficult,” Cathy, who lives with her partner and two older children, said. “At that point, both my children were growing up fast, so fostering from home seemed to be the perfect solution. This was when I approached the council’s fostering service for more information and was directed to look into Link foster care.”
After applying, Cathy went through initial training and, after being approved, was matched with a number of children and young people and their families so that she could offer overnight stays and short breaks.
The service offers Link carers a flexible approach, with both full-time and part-time options available.
Cathy is a full time foster carer and provides respite for four evenings each week.
Both local authorities offer allowances and expenses and offer Link foster carers round-the-clock specialist support and supervision, as well as ongoing training.
“It’s not a breeze,” Cathy says, “It’s like hearing ‘are we there yet?’ constantly! These children need to be supervised 24/7 – but that’s what I love.”
Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council’s foster care team has launched an awareness campaign called ‘The Real Faces of Fostering’ to highlight the work of everyone involved in the fostering journey.