Plymouth City Council is stepping up its efforts to attract more people in the city to become foster carers or to adopt.
The Council is giving a boost to its foster carer recruitment campaign, which will include a group of looked after children who are recording a Christmas radio message thanking everyone who made an enquiry to become a foster over the previous 12 months.
The message will be broadcast in the run up the Christmas on Radio Plymouth and will also be used as part of a wider social media campaign.
With more children coming into care than there are carers to live with, the Council has pledged to use all available resources to recruit, assess, and support foster carers as well as deliver approved training programs.
The Council is also continuing to back Adopt South West, the regional adoption agency which works collaboratively across council boundaries to encourage more people to adopt in Plymouth, Torbay, Devon and Somerset. Councillor Sue McDonald, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “Every child in Plymouth deserves a safe and loving home. In line with our drive to recruit new foster carers for Plymouth’s children, our campaign will also provide training and ongoing support, so they can provide the best possible care and stability to the children placed with them. I would like to thank all our foster carers for what they do to improve children’s lives daily and who are an inspiration to us all.
“I also want people to think about adopting. Adopt South West are there to support you every step of the way, from completing your application and matching you with a child, to contact with the birth family and support after adoption.”
There are dozens of children waiting for a home, and the Fostering for Plymouth team are keen to hear from individuals and couples who want to make a difference to a local child.
Foster carers can be sole carers, married or in a relationship – and they won’t be on their own as help and support is always available. They will receive “buddy support” from experienced foster carers who are there to befriend and guide them through the system.
Supervising social workers provide intensive support for during placements, while foster carers can get help through a peer support network.
Placements can be anything from a few days to several years, and carers receive a regular, tax exempt fee and allowance to cover the cost of bringing up the child.
Foster carer Warren said: “It’s great to hear the ongoing campaign has resulted in more enquiries but that doesn’t stop here.
“If you think you have something to offer, then pick up the phone. You’ll be guided every step of the journey and can end up making a huge difference to a child’s life.
“I also like working from home and as part of a team. I get involved in any training opportunities I can, and I attend the support group for foster carers. We meet once a month and it’s important to get that support from people who understand the job.”
Kath Drescher, Service Manager, Adopt South West, said: “We are delighted that Plymouth City Council have reaffirmed their commitment to encouraging more people in the city to adopt.
“We will continue to work with Plymouth and all our other partners across Devon, Somerset and Torbay to find loving, permanent and secure homes for children across the region. If you could foster a baby or toddler with the possibility of adoption or you are thinking of adoption, please do get in touch.”
Support for fostering
If you are over 21, have a spare room and are in good health, you can apply to help make a difference to a child’s life.
Children and young people of all ages need carers who will help them feel wanted, valued and safe.
As a foster carer, you can be in work or unemployed, be single, married, or in a same sex or heterosexual relationship, and can own or rent the property you live in.
You will receive advice, specialist training and peer support, as well as an allowance.
Anyone interested in more detail can call the team at Plymouth City Council on 0800 085 8034 or 01752 308760 Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5pm. or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://web.plymouth.gov.uk/fosterforplymouth
Support for adoption
Adopt South West are available to support you with your adoption application or to answer any questions you might have if you are considering adopting.
They can support you with completing your application and matching you with a child, to contact with the birth family and support after adoption.
Adopters need to be over 21 but there is no upper age limit.
Married or unmarried couples (including same-sex), couples in civil partnerships and single people can apply to adopt.
The stability and permanency of any relationship you are in is our only concern.
You can be of any religion or ethnicity, and if you already have children you can still adopt, but birth children in the family will need to be at least two years old. This is because an adopted child needs to be the youngest in the family, often by a couple of years.