COLUMN: Could you become a foster carer?

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A new fostering campaign from Nottinghamshire County Council looks at how fostering not only changes the lives for the better of the children and young people that find loving homes, it also makes a positive difference to the lives of foster carers.

The county council is currently looking for foster carers for children and young people of all ages, but are especially interested in speaking to anyone particularly interested in fostering sibling groups and older children where our need is greatest.

The council currently has 795 looked-after children within Nottinghamshire – and 484 of these children are aged 11 or over and many may be part of sibling groups of two, three or more children aged five or older.

There is no doubt that fostering offers carers opportunities to give something back as well as a chance to broaden or change their horizons.

Foster carers tell me that they get a real sense of achievement when they see they have made a difference to a young person’s life.

That sense of achievement might have come through seeing them doing well in exams or a chosen career, introducing them to a new hobby, watching them development lasting friendships or simply giving them confidence to tackle any hurdles they may 
come across in their young lives.

The qualities possessed by our foster carers range from loving, understanding and resilient to simply good listeners.

Foster carers like Lorna and Steven Watt from Kirkby in Ashfield display all these qualities in abundance.

The Watts have fostered 11 teenagers over the last six years and say that they both get a real sense of achievement when each and every one of their foster children achieve their goals.

This goes to show that a loving home can make such a positive impact on children’s lives at various stages of their development.

The council will be holding drop-in events at the following libraries over the next few months for people thinking about fostering:

• Mansfield, Four Seasons Centre, West Gate, NG18 1NH - Thurday February 16, 3.15-5.15pm

• Edwinstowe, High Street, NG21 9QS - Tuesday March 21, 4pm-6pm Blidworth, New Lane, NG21 0PW

• Worksop, Memorial Avenue, S80 2BP - Thursday May 18, 4pm-6pm

If you think you’ve got the qualities to become a foster carer then find out more by visiting www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/fostering or calling 0300 500 8080.