Keeping families healthy, Protecting vulnerable children

Foster mum backs push to find more foster carers in Surrey

A mum who has fostered a 15-year-old is appealing to others to offer a loving home to a teenager who needs one.

As Foster Care Fortnight gets underway, Vicky is urging would-be foster families to consider opening their homes to teenagers as well as babies and younger children.

She says her experience of fostering a teenage boy has shown her that older children, just like younger, respond quickly to feeling part of the family and thrive in a stable home.

With fostering under the spotlight this fortnight, Surrey County Council is renewing its call for new foster carers to come forward to help make a difference to a child’s life.

The council revealed that it currently has 253 foster carers who have 1,692 years of experience between them. Nearly 400 children are in Surrey foster care.

But more foster carers are always needed – particularly for teenagers, siblings and children with disabilities.

Vicky, who lives in the Woking area with her husband, her three children and the 15-year-old boy they fostered last year, said: ‘We love making a difference to a child. We’ve noticed that, given the right opportunities, a child will grow into the child they were meant to be.

‘We treat him the same as our own kids; fostered children respond so quickly to feeling part of the family.’

Asked what her own children think of fostering, she said: ‘Our teens are brilliant. They feel they are making a difference to another teenager’s life, and they also enjoy the added dimension that a different child can bring to their lives.’

Cindy, another Surrey foster carer who has fostered teenagers, said: ‘When we were asked what our preference would be when we started fostering, I replied, a young person who needs a family.

‘Fostering teenagers means we never get to grow old. Life is so much more fun having them in our life, and we learn as much from them as they learn from us.’

Clare Curran, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Families Wellbeing, said: ‘We are looking for people willing to open their homes and hearts to children who may have had a difficult start in life and want to be part of a stable family. Children of all ages need our support and guidance, teenagers just as much as babies and young children. We also need carers for children with disabilities and those prepared to take on sibling groups.

‘Fostering not only changes young people’s lives, it is also incredibly rewarding for carers and I urge anyone who believes they have what it takes to do this to come forward.’

A series of events is taking place during Foster Care Fortnight to spread the word about fostering, including a stall in the market in Redhill town centre from 8am to 4pm on both 5 June and 12 June, where free snacks and drinks will be available.

For more information about these and other events, click here.

For more information on fostering, visit Surrey County Council’s website.

SURREY FOSTERING IN FIGURES

* 1,692 years of experience carers have clocked up
* 394 children currently in Surrey foster care
* 253 families caring for children
* 127 relatives and friends looking after children

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