This Fostering Fortnight, Wokingham Borough Council is asking residents if they have the space and time to foster a child, after the number of children in the borough needing a foster home has increased by a third.
Fostering Fortnight (9 to 22 May) is an annual campaign spearheaded by The Fostering Network, raising the profile of fostering and showing how foster carers change children and young people's lives every day.
In Wokingham borough, we celebrate our foster carers throughout the year through various events, but want to take this opportunity to send an extra special thank you.
Helen Watson, Director of Children’s Services said: “Each day these people are taking children and young people into their homes, their lives, their families and their hearts, and I want to thank each and every one of them for doing that.”
The need for foster carers in the borough is increasing, with 136 children in care (as of 1 April 2022), an increase from approximately 100 over the past couple of years.
With the number of children in care growing by over a third in the past year, we’re trying to increase the number of local foster carers to help keep children close to their home community, allowing them to remain connected with families, schools and friends.
We are looking for foster carers to join our small, friendly team, helping us to keep our children closer to their homes. We welcome enquiries from anyone who can offer Wokingham borough children a safe, happy and loving home; regardless of relationship status, gender, sexuality or race. All that we ask is that you have a spare room, the time and energy to look after a child and live within 20 miles of the borough. We’re particularly interested in people who could foster teenagers, sibling groups and unaccompanied asylum seekers.
Children and young people come into care for lots of reasons and will need different levels of support and care, so you will always be matched in a way that is a good fit for all.
There are many reasons a child could be in care, for example parental illness, disability or death, they are an unaccompanied asylum seeker, it’s not safe for the child to live with their parent or a teenage parent needing a mother and baby placement where they will be cared for alongside learning how to care for their new baby
In return, we offer foster carers local training, support groups and social activities for our foster families, with generous fees and allowances which includes council tax exemption.
One of our new foster families, Emma, Alastair and their children, said: “Fostering was something we had talked about for some time, however it was only during the first lockdown that we really started to explore the idea more seriously.
“After a reassuringly in-depth assessment period, we were approved in February this year. Things then moved very fast and the little baby we have been caring for has been such a lovely addition to our family. Our own children, who are all teenagers, have all been incredibly helpful and thoughtful which has made such a difference. I think it has made them appreciate their own lives more and made them more compassionate.
“Although we are only at the start of our journey, we hope that we will be able to make a small difference in the lives of the children we care for by giving them a stable and loving home for the time they are with us.”
For more information, please visit our website, or email us and the team will give you a call. We regularly hold information events, with two coming up on 19 May:
- In person from 11.30 to 2pm in the REME Room at Wokingham Town Hall
- Online 6pm-7pmwhere as well as speaking to the fostering team, you’ll also get to hear from some of our current foster carers and what their experiences have been. Please email us for links to join.
Helen added: “Over the past two years, we have seen the generosity, care and community spirit the people of Wokingham borough have shown, through pulling together to support each other during the height of the pandemic to opening their homes to Ukrainian families fleeing the war.
“We are asking the people of the borough to once again show their compassion and support for their neighbours by considering fostering a child and changing a life.”
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