Make a difference - foster a child
Foster Care Fortnight, co-ordinated by UK-wide charity the Fostering Network, begins on Monday 17 May.
As part of this, the City of Edinburgh, Midlothian, East Lothian and Scottish Borders Councils are working with the Fostering Network on a major campaign.
The 'Make a difference - foster a child' campaign aims to get people to think about the skills they have and to consider foster caring as a rewarding career which changes the lives of children whose circumstances bring them into care.
We have set up a Freephone number (0800 158 8008)and website (http://www.fostercaring.org/) to make it as easy as possible for anyone interested in fostering to get in touch and find out more. The web site features foster carers talking about their experiences and answers some of the questions most frequently asked by people thinking about fostering.
There is a shortage of foster carers across Scotland and carers are needed urgently to provide children with safe and caring homes while they are unable to live with their own families. All sorts of people have the skills and qualities to foster. We hope the campaign will encourage them to step up and make a difference.
The City of Edinburgh Councillor Marilyne MacLaren, Education Leader at the City of Edinburgh Council, said:
"Fostering is a hugely rewarding and really important job as it benefits some of the most vulnerable children in our society, helping them build a bright and confident future. Edinburgh currently has a shortage of foster carers, and we are looking for carers from all sections of the local community. We are delighted to be working in partnership with the other local council's to highlight this important fortnight as it is vital we give potential carers more information on what is involved and the qualities needed to become a good foster carer."
Midlothian Councillor Jack Aitchison, Cabinet Member for Social Work, said:
"Foster carers have a vital role to play in giving children in care the best possible chance in life. But the shortage of foster carers means that far too many children live a long way from home, family and school, often apart from their brothers and sisters. Foster Care Fortnight is the ideal time for people to find out more about fostering and the skills and qualities needed to be a modern foster carer. Midlothian Council welcomes applications to become foster carers from all sectors of the community."
During the fostering fortnight Midlothian Council will be holding imaginative, innovative and fun events aimed at raising awareness of fostering. If you are interested in becoming a foster carer, or would like to learn more, a member of the Midlothian Council Family Placement Team will be available to talk to you about the different types of support you might be able to offer.
The events also provide an opportunity for members of the public to meet existing foster carers and learn more about a career in fostering. For a selection of events in the Midlothian area, see the Fostering Network's campaign website http://www.fostercaring.org/.
Scottish Borders Councillor David Raw, Executive Member for Social Work, said:
"We are indebted to the commitment and dedication of our Foster carers. They can and do make a difference to the lives of children. We urgently need more carers in the Borders and would ask people to think about fostering as a career. Call the Freephone number now - you have nothing to lose and everything to gain from this rewarding work."
East Lothian Councillor Peter MacKenzie, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Education and Children's Services, said:
"Foster caring is a wonderful thing to do, and East Lothian Council really appreciates the fantastic job our foster carers do with the young people they look after. They offer stability and care to children who need it most, and help to keep East Lothian children here in East Lothian, near their friends, schools and communities. They do make a difference, every day. But we still need more foster carers and we hope that this campaign will encourage more people in the county to take up this rewarding and challenging life."
Sara Lurie, Director of the Fostering Network in Scotland said:
"Foster carers have a vital role to play in giving children in care the best possible chance in life. But the shortage of foster carers means that far too many children live a long way from home, family and school, often apart from their brothers and sisters. This innovative joint campaign is an excellent example of authorities working together to provide opportunities for people to find out more about fostering, and the skills and qualities needed to be a modern foster carer in their local area."
Minister for Children and Early Years, Adam Ingram said:
"Foster carers can make a real difference to the lives of children and young people, who for a variety of reasons can no longer live with their own family. However, there is a real need for more foster carers - people who can give a temporary home, care and support to children and young people on a short term or longer term basis.
"I welcome these efforts to encourage more people to consider becoming foster carers and improve recruitment, and would encourage anyone with the right skills and qualities to think about becoming a foster parent.
'While this can be challenging, there is no doubt that it can also be highly rewarding and make a real impact on the lives of children and young people, who through no fault of their own, are in need of a new, temporary home."
People wanting more information about becoming a foster carer should contact 0800 158 8008 email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.fostercaring.org/ These contacts will be active from 17 May 2010.