Friday 13 May was lucky for some, as foster carers from across Wokingham borough gathered for the 2022 Fostering Awards Ceremony. The awards were held during Foster Care Fortnight, an annual campaign spearheaded by The Fostering Network toraise the profile of fostering and show how foster care transforms lives.
The fostering awards have been running since 2014, to thank and recognise the hard work, dedication and commitment to changing the lives of children and young people across the borough.
A total of 16 awards were up for grabs, with nominations put forward by members of the children’s social care team and presented by 2021/22 the Mayor of Wokingham Borough Council, Cllr Keith Baker MBE.
Outstanding Contribution to Recruitment
The big winner of the day was Colin Haines, who scooped two awards. The first, Outstanding Contribution to Recruitment (joint winner with another foster family) recognised how he works with the family placement team to recruit new foster carers.
Jackie Ross, Recruitment & Marketing Officer, said: “Colin is always enthusiastic, down-to-earth and reassuring approach when discussing his experiences at our online information events which undoubtedly helps persuade our would-be foster carers to take the next step and join our fostering family.”
With the number of children needing foster homes increasing by a third over the past couple of years, recruiting new foster carers is essential. Colin’s help at events such as the Wokingham Winter Carnival, a stall at a supermarket or joining an online foster carer recruitment event is invaluable.
Ron Rowley Award for Exceptional Contribution to Fostering
Colin also won the most prestigious award of the day the Ron Rowley Award for Exceptional Contribution to Fostering, alongside his wife Jo.
The Ron Rowley Award was created in honour of a much-valued foster carer, who passed away shortly after celebrating 20 years fostering with the council. The award was introduced by his wife Cathy, who is still part of the fostering family and won an award herself earlier in the afternoon.
Adella Mutero, supervising social worker, said: “Colin and Jo were named exceptional foster carers due to their commitment and perseverance, alongside an enormous capacity to love and care for our children. They have been fostering for many years with the council and have a fantastic reputation within the local authority and with birth families of the children they have cared for.”
Other awards on the day included families who cared for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, who were new to foster caring and who showed commitment to education, as well as long service awards ranging from five to 20 years.
A group of siblings were awarded the sons and daughters award, after spending a lot of time with the biological children from a prospective foster family to share their experiences, empowering the other children to feel comfortable and giving them a better understanding of what fostering is like from a child’s point of view.
Councillor Prue Bray, executive member for children’s services, said: “Foster carers are remarkable in their care and passion for children and young people in their care and the fostering awards offer us a small chance to say a big thank you.
“Foster carers offer a truly life changing experience for children in their care and we invite anyone who is interested in finding out more to get in touch with our fostering team at email@example.com
Pilot programme to support foster families
During Foster Care Fortnight, the council announced that it is planning a pilot later this year of an international fostering programme, Mockingbird, run by The Fostering Network. Mockingbird connects groups of foster families to provide higher levels of support to each other, imitating the traditional support offered by extended families.
Cllr Prue Bray added “I am delighted that we are working with The Fostering Network to pilot Mockingbird, strengthening the commitment to making sure our foster families have as much support as possible.”
Get in touch
If you would like to find out more about being a foster carer in Wokingham borough, please visit our website, or email us and the team will call you back.
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