Join our Fostering Community
All children have the right to grow up in a loving and stable home where all their needs are met and they are given the chance to fulfil their potential. Sadly for some children personal circumstances mean they cannot live with their birth families and they need to be cared for by foster carers.
With the start of Fostercare Fortnight today (9-22 May), we are launching a new campaign to encourage local people to consider becoming foster carers. The campaign is titled ‘Join our Fostering Community’.
Urgent need for more foster carers
Fostercare Fortnight is an annual UK-wide awareness raising campaign co-ordinated by the Fostering Network - the UK's leading charity for all those involved in fostering. The purpose of the fortnight is to make people think about fostering and to highlight the urgent need for more foster carers.
Fostering is a way of offering children and young people a home while their own parents are unable to look after them. Fostering is usually a temporary arrangement while social workers work with families to resolve issues and the aim is that children and parents can eventually be reunited.
Diversity in fostering
The council is keen to hear from anyone who thinks they have what it takes to welcome a child or young person into their home and provide them with the support they need. Applications to become foster carers are welcome from people of all backgrounds, for example people of different ages and at different stages of their lives, single people, married people, couples that are living together, same sex couples, people with children of their own, people without children and people from different cultures. All you need is a spare room, patience and understanding and can offer care and support our most vulnerable children and families.
Local carers for local children
Midlothian’s Chief Officer Children’s Services Joan Tranent said: “The pandemic has impacted significantly on Midlothian’s most vulnerable young people over the past two years. Therefore there is an even greater need to attract more people to come forward to become foster carers. It is also important to recruit more Midlothian carers for Midlothian children to avoid them being placed out of the area away from their siblings, friends, and extended family. In line with the national and local policy driver, known as ‘The Promise’, which is about providing high quality care within the child’s own community and networks, Midlothian want to make sure children and young people are supported to maintain and further develop relationships with those who mean so much to them, particularly when they are unable to live with their family.”
There are different types of fostering:
- Emergency fostering provides children with a place to go immediately, no matter what hour of the day or night, when social workers feel it is essential to remove the child from a particular situation.
- Interim fostering can help keep families together by giving them a much-needed breathing space. Foster carers look after a child maybe one weekend a month or for the occasional week during school holidays. Interim fostering arrangements can last anything up to two years.
- Short-term fostering allows foster carers to look after a child for a few weeks or months. There may be problems or illness in the family or the child may have been harmed or abused in some way.
- Long-term fostering allows a child to grow up in a safe and supportive environment when they cannot return to live at home, while keeping in touch with their family if this is appropriate.
Fees and training
Foster carers receive both a fee and an allowance to cover the costs of looking after a child. Potential foster carers have to undergo assessment and training in order to ensure they are right for fostering and that fostering is right for them. Once approved, foster carers receive ongoing training and support from the Family Placement Team.
Meet foster carer Angela
Angela Ross and her husband Paul are part of Midlothian’s fostering community and have been fostering with the council for five years. They are currently fostering two siblings under the age of five.
Paul who was a joiner to trade and Angela who has a background in childcare had spoken about fostering for many years on and off but In 2017 they made the decision to approach the council to find out more.
Angela says: “I had always wanted to help children in care and to try and make a difference to their lives. We were fortunate to have two spare bedrooms in our house and we felt the time was right.”
She continued: “The assessment process took several months and was very thorough but it needed to be not just for the sake of the children but also for me and Paul to confirm for sure if it was the right thing for us. We were a little nervous waiting on the first child coming into our care, however that feeling passed very quickly once we met the child we are fostering.”
Most rewarding job
She adds “Fostering can be a bit of an emotional rollercoaster but it definitely has been the most rewarding job that either of us has ever done. It’s not just been life changing for the children but for us also. It’s enriched not just our lives but also that of our children, grandchildren and our local community. It’s opened our eyes to the world and gave us a deeper purpose in life. If you have a spare bedroom and love in your heart, then please consider helping a child in need.”
We are holding a series of drop in monthly fostering information events during the year throughout Midlothian. Come along to the next one on Wednesday 25 May between 10.30am - 12 noon or 6.30pm - 8.30pm at the Stair Arms Hotel in Pathhead to find out more about fostering.
If you want more information about the other events or fostering:
- Call the Family Placement team on 0131 271 3615
- Visit Midlothian Council website fostering pages