Foster homes needed

A WORKSOP foster mum is urging other parents to think about fostering as the number of children in care rises.

Julie Harrison, 40, who lives in the Carlton Road area has fostered 12 children since 2006.

She says it is the best decision she ever made, and is now considered an ‘aunt’ among the fostering network.

“Fostering can be challenging and involves all members of the family but the rewards far outweigh this,” said Julie.

“To see a young person’s face when they realise they are safe and you are there for them is heart warming and immensely fulfilling.”

As part of foster care fortnight - Monday 16th May to Sunday 29th May - Notts County Council is asking people in Worksop if they have the time to foster.

Around 10 extra foster homes are needed in the Bassetlaw area as more and more children come into care.

The number of children under the council’s care grew by more than 10 per cent in the last year to 667 in March.

The council is also struggling as a large number of foster carers are reaching retirement age, so the number of approved carers available for placements is falling.

Julie initially chose a career over starting a family, but as time went on she began to think about fostering.

“The number of children in care was increasing so there was a greater need for more carers,” said Julie.

“After asking for more information I went ahead with the training and was approved as a single carer for support care or respite in July 2006.”

“This was a great introduction to fostering, supporting full time foster families and young people in their care.”

After four years of fostering, Julie was able to give up her career to foster full time, as well as continue her support care arrangements.

She added: “I constantly urge other people around me to consider becoming foster carers because there are a lot of children and young people who need stability, security and someone to care and be there for them.”

Every child deserves to have a loving environment to help them flourish and gain a sense of belonging.”

Coun Philip Owen, with responsibility for children and young people, said: “Fostering is a way of providing a stable family life and helping children to come to terms with their difficult or traumatic backgrounds.”

He explained that carers are expected to attend meetings, promote contact with birth families and work with professionals.

In return, the council offers regular support, training, allowances and essential equipment.

“If people feel they can offer the time, commitment, space and skills to look after children who can’t live with their own families, I urge them to come forward to find out more about the type of job satisfaction that only fostering can offer.”

For more information contact the fostering service on 0845 301 8899 or visit www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk