More foster carers needed to help change a vulnerable child’s life

To keep up with the growing demand for more fostering placements in Plymouth, the City Council is increasing the level of support currently available to foster carers.

From 1 April the Council will be offering a new fee structure which rewards carers who are able to provide homes for sibling groups or more than one child. It also makes fostering an affordable option to people who might need to substitute an existing income they may have. The changes also match those of carers wanting to transfer from private fostering agencies.

In addition to the increased financial incentive Plymouth Foster Carers also get:

  • 24/7 support from trained social workers
  • Access to children’s mental health professionals
  • A dedicated fostering buddy
  • A bespoke training package
  • Monthly support group
  • Activities for children and their carers at each holiday

There are currently 408 children and young people in care in Plymouth and recruiting new carers to help look after them is an on-going campaign.

Councillor Terri Beer, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People said: “We know that Plymouth’s foster carers do an incredible job, providing stability and care to the children who need it most, sometimes under the most difficult of circumstances. But fostering has changed over the years and our foster carers are now expected to carry out skilled and demanding work, which we believe should be recognised with professional rates of pay with increased training and support.”

By increasing the support available to foster carers the Council recognises the vital contribution that carers make to the lives of vulnerable children and young people in Plymouth.

Care leaver 18 year old Skye said: “I have been in care for just over three years and am very lucky to have such amazing foster carers who understand and support me through thick and thin. I first met these lovely people when arriving for respite care, I fitted in immediately. My foster dad is crazy and we share the love for rock and roll and most things Gothic and my foster mum is my rock and understands me better than anyone.

“I feel that to make a good foster carer you need to make children and young people feel accepted as one of the family and treat them the same as you would a family member. It’s also really important to show love, trust and commitment in the young person you have taken into your home. They want to feel wanted by someone and to feel needed. A good strong foster family needs to be built on trust and respect, that’s what helps make a foster family strong.”

Skye lived with carers Madge and Wayne Smith for three years and is still with them under a staying put arrangement. These arrangements are in place for young people who still need the stability of a foster family when they reach the age of 18.

Madge said: “A significant number of young people who need foster care in Plymouth are teenagers, so we’re particularly encouraging people to come forward who can provide the skills required to look after children in this age group.

“Fostering teenagers can be a challenge, but from my own experience I can honestly tell us how hugely rewarding it is. Helping them to develop confidence and independence, and to build a future, makes a massive difference to young people and foster carers alike.

“Of course, we’re also looking for foster carers for children and young people of all ages, so if you can offer support and stability to help youngsters reach their full potential, please get in touch.”

The Council is confident that these new proposals will help secure the futures not only of looked after children but also for those who care for them.

To find out more about becoming a Foster Carer