Kent Fostering, the largest and most experienced fostering agency in Kent are urgently seeking new foster carers.
The need for foster carers in Kent is higher than ever, particularly due to the additional challenges and pressures on families coping with the pandemic.
The number of children in need of either short term or longer-term foster care has increased substantially and, although Kent Fostering received an increase in the number of enquiries from people wishing to foster in 2020, many more loving and caring families are needed to provide life changing care, support and safety to these children and young people.
If you are seeking a fulfilling and rewarding career change this year or are considering adding to your family, please consider fostering a Kent child or young person.
Kent Fostering are welcoming applications from those interested in becoming new foster carers and current foster carers interested in transferring to a different agency including single people, couples, LGBTQ and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people.
A wonderful and diverse mix of foster carers already exists and increasing representation across all communities will help to best meet the diverse needs of the many different children and young people in need of foster care.
It is helpful for applicants to have some experience of parenting or looking after children and young people. But also, a desire to help, be available, provide a place of safety and commit to caring and supporting them for as long as they need, are also important factors.
Prospective carers do not need any specific qualifications in order to become a foster carer as the relevant training is now provided virtually with an expanded range of online training including an extensive number of new online workshops to equip foster carers to provide first class care and support to the children being looked after.
24-hour support to foster carers is available through the Kent County Council out of hours service and fostering support teams, virtual meetings, supervisions, the use of SKYPE, Facetime and other platforms to enable children and young people to see their families, are all in place.
Tennille Barry, Foster Carer for Kent Fostering said: “My husband Rob and I have wanted to foster for some time.
“When the time was finally right for us to make the commitment and we were in a position to be able to offer our full support and care to those children and families in need, the world seemed to have other ideas and as we started the application process a world pandemic decided to strike!
“Whilst we were all making changes and trying to adjust to the “new normal”, some things have no choice but to go on and more than ever, children needed safe and nurturing foster care.
“Rob and I were allocated a fantastic social worker and from day one she was available for support and advice – no question was ever too silly or insignificant.
“Although it was not possible to meet with her face to face, we were supported in making use of the service’s online resources and were encouraged to continue communication through phone and video conferencing.
“It was through operating in this way that we were able to continue our assessment interviews and were able to discuss personal and sensitive topics in a secure manner.
“Our training was completed virtually via Microsoft Teams, and we were able to meet other new foster carers virtually and all bonded over the same challenges of learning together but apart.
“The training was so helpful and honest; we were able to gain so much from it and both feel it has given us a great starting point within our roles. Although at times technology brought challenges, overall, we do not feel that we lost out on any of the group training experience.
“Our panel also took place virtually, and although we still had the usual excitement and anxiety leading up to the final decision, those present and especially our social worker were able to make the experience both positive and supportive. We were absolutely thrilled to be approved and it made our journey into fostering so far even more incredible.
“Although life as we knew it has changed so much, technology has meant we are still able to work together closely and still have that face-to-face experience. The process of assessment is of course challenging but so worth it and despite a worldwide pandemic the Kent Fostering team have gone above and beyond to support us every step of the way.”
Mark Vening, Head of Kent Fostering said: “The Coronavirus pandemic has meant that we have had to adjust the way in which we live and work. As a service, we have found new ways to communicate and keep in touch with our foster carers and different ways of delivering training. It is a priority for us as a service to ensure that the level of support for our carers continues, despite the coronavirus and lockdown.
“It is imperative that we not only recruit more foster carers in response to the rising numbers of children and young people needing foster care, but we also recognise the outstanding work and efforts of our current foster carers and ensure that they are well supported, recognised and valued in their contributions to Kent Fostering.
“I am particularly proud of the way in which our carers have gone above and beyond in response to the extraordinary demands and pressures as a result of Covid-19 and I cannot thank them enough for their hard work and dedication to our children and young people.
“The rewards from fostering allow individuals to play a significant part in shaping the lives and futures of children and young people. With the ever-increasing need for foster families, those equipped with the right values are being called upon to consider fostering. If you are looking for a new challenge, a new career, and want high levels of job satisfaction then please apply to become a foster carer with Kent Fostering today.”
To find out more about Kent Fostering and how you could become a foster carer please call our enquiries team today on 03000420 002 or visit www.kentfostering.co.uk for more information.