Kent County Council (KCC) needs more than 150 new households to join its team of foster carers and help change the future of vulnerable children in the county.
The Local Authority is backing Foster Care Fortnight 2018, the UK’s biggest foster carer recruitment campaign which runs until May 27.
Lucy Buck, 48 and from Folkestone, joined Kent Fostering with husband Mark in 2014. The former chef has four birth children and says fostering has been a rewarding experience and of huge benefit to her family.
“It has been an enriching experience for our whole family. We have had the chance to look after a huge variety of children of all ages, as well as young people in respite care and unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.
“I’m currently looking after two sisters. My own son is laid back and my older daughters look on them and their other foster siblings as family.
“The help and support I have received has been very good and our social workers have been just as supportive as when we were at an agency – and there is someone available 24/7.
“Fostering is a full-time job and a vocation, but it is also one of the most rewarding things you can do. It is wonderful spending time with the children and experiencing new things. It could just be going out for the day, joining the library, making cakes or flying kites. Spending time with the children is good fun and keeps you young at heart.”
Kent Fostering looks after more than 1,600 children in the county placed with over 700 foster carers.
Nationally there are 43,000 foster families, leaving an estimated shortfall of just over 9,000.
In Kent, foster carers are needed in all areas, particularly in the north and west districts of the county.
Roger Gough, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Education, said: “Foster Care Fortnight is the perfect way to celebrate the many fantastic foster carers like Lucy who change the lives of looked after children by welcoming them into their homes and families.
“More than 2,100 young people were in foster care in Kent at some point during 2017/18. Kent Fostering is the most experienced fostering service in the county with over 40 years’ experience. We need Kent foster carers for Kent children so that children can stay within their local community.
“This year the Council aims to recruit 150 new foster carers across the county. We need foster homes for children of all ages but particularly for older children, brothers and sisters who need to stay together and disabled children.”
Kevin Williams, chief executive of The Fostering Network said: “Foster carers do something amazing on behalf of our society. Across the UK a child comes into care in need of a foster family every 20 minutes, and thousands of foster families are willing to open their hearts and homes to these children, often offering them their first experience of a stable, secure and caring home.
“Looking after fostered children, many of whom who have experienced trauma, abuse or neglect, can be challenging. But it is that challenge, along with the reward of seeing these children and young people flourish, that many foster carers say makes them proud to foster.”
If you are interested in finding out more about Kent Fostering, the following events are available:
- Wednesday 16 May – Enbrook Park Pavilion, (SAGA), Sandgate, Folkestone CT20 3SE – Presentation at 7pm.
- Thursday 24 May – The Royal Hotel, 29 The Broadway, Sheerness ME12 1AB – Presentation at 7pm.
- Saturday 2 June – Lenham Community Centre, Groom Way, Lenham ME17 2QT – Presentation at 10am.
For details of future events visit at kentfostering.co.uk/events.
If you think you can, or know anyone who could, provide these children with the stability and routine they need to flourish and develop, call Kent Fostering on 03000 420 002.
For further information about the Kent County Council Communications Office contact David Gazet on 03000 422589 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.