A Worksop foster carer who says she can find “no negatives” about her role supporting youngsters in need is encouraging others to consider fostering part-time.
Julie Harrison is one of the faces of a campaign to raise awareness of “support care fostering”, which enables people to foster for regular weekends or short breaks to fit around their lifestyle.
The campaign has been launched by Nottinghamshire County Council who say there are only 32 support foster carers in the county and they are hoping to increase that number.
Julie, who has supported 26 children since 1995, said:“It is not just about offering a bed for the night, it is about providing support for the young person and the family that they usually stay with on a regular basis.
“It is about fitting into their routine and providing a solid base for them to have a break from daily life and making it as enjoyable for them as possible.
“By providing constant, consistent help on a regular basis, it gives some stability for the young people and helps them to form routines. It is almost like children having a break with an aunt or uncle and gives them a fresh perspective on life.”
Julie was settled in her career in manufacturing when she first got involved in fostering and thought that without a family of her own she had something to offer.
She was able to offer support care placements during weekends and school holidays which fitted around her working life.
She added: “Sometimes it is a placement from Friday night to Sunday night, other times it is during holidays, dependent on what the needs of the child are following an initial consultation meeting with the foster care placement officers.
“The benefits are overwhelming. It is a very fulfilling role and the memories of events and activities make me smile even when I am not with the young person. I honestly cannot find any negatives about being a support foster.”
Julie has gone on to provide a full-time placement to one of the young people she supports as well as continuing to offer support care provision.
Councillor Tracey Taylor, vice-chairman of the Children and Young People’s Committee at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “Our support care scheme enables people to foster who would not be able to consider full-time fostering. The positive experience that Julie has had offers a great example of the vital work support foster carers do.”
People interested in fostering support care can visit www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/fostering or call 0300 5008080.