A NEW campaign has been launched in search of new foster families in Staffordshire. ‘No Myths, No Ifs, No Buts…’ is the latest campaign by Staffordshire County Council to help find foster families for some of the county’s most vulnerable children. The campaign is being focused on helping to bust some of the commonly held myths which often put people off from fostering.
Some of the most commonly held myths around fostering are that; you need to be married, you need lots of experience and skills, you can’t have any animals and you need a big house – none of which, according to Staffordshire County Council – are true.
Mark Sutton, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People at Staffordshire County Council said: “With children back in school for the new term and teenagers flying the nest and off to university, it can be a good time to think about doing something different and that could mean being a foster carer.
“Our foster carers regularly tell us that fostering is an amazing thing to do but we know there are still lots of myths out there putting people off.
“For example, people think you need to be married, own your own home and you can’t own a pet, all of which are false.
“That’s why we’re busting those popular myths and trying to encourage more families to come forward.
“We know that fostering gives most children the best chance of a happy life, so it’s vital we have local foster carers to give them that opportunity.”
The latest campaign, being supported by current foster carers themselves, aims to find families for the 1,200 children now in the county council’s care.
Sally Haywood and husband Andrew, from Uttoxeter, have been fostering for nine years and are supporting this latest campaign.
Sally said: “Fostering is such a great thing to do and we both find it really rewarding, especially when you see vulnerable children grow up to be strong independent adults.
“It makes it the best job in the world.
“There’s also lots of support and training available from Staffordshire’s fostering service too, so there’s always help and advice when you need it.
“Obviously fostering has it’s challenges and joys at times along the way but you’re never on your own.
“The most rewarding thing for me is how much the children change while they are with you and how much they appreciate what you’re doing for them.
“It’s wonderful to see all their achievements, no matter how small, like succeeding in school and in life in general.
“I’d definitely encourage anyone who has thought about it to give it a go. You won’t look back.”
Meanwhile, Staffordshire Moorlands foster family Nicola and Matt Bradley, along with their seven-year-old daughter Amelia, specialise in fostering sibling groups.
Nicola said: “We’ve been fostering for six years now and have loved every minute of it.
“I think it’s important that siblings stay together and it’s fabulous to watch them grow up together.
“Fostering is something that will change your life and if you are thinking about it then I would encourage you to get in touch and take that first step.”
As part of the campaign, a series of coffee mornings and information events with current foster carers will also be taking place at a number of locations across the county.
The remaining events are: on Friday (September 27) between 10am and 2pm at Costa Coffee, Queens Retail Park, Stafford; and also on Wednesday, October 9 at 7pm at Castle Hotel, Lady Bank in Tamworth.
If you are unable to attend either of these events but wish to find out more about fostering with Staffordshire County Council visit www.care4child.org/fostering.
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