Anyone who has ever thought about fostering, has the chance to find out more at an event next week.
A drop-in session is taking place in Burgess Hill to give people an opportunity to speak to members of West Sussex County Council’s fostering team and find out what being a foster carer involves.
The all-day event is being held on Tuesday, July 15, from 10am to 4pm, at Burgess Hill Library.
Rosemary, from the Mid Sussex district, has been a foster carer for almost ten years and looks after older children and teenagers – an age-group that the county council is particularly looking for carers to help.
She said: “Fostering is very rewarding – especially when you are looking after older children and young people.
“It isn’t easy – you do have to be extremely dedicated. If you are part of a couple, I think it’s important that you both want it and are fully committed, but it is worth it
“In teenagers, you can often see them change quite quickly when they realise they can trust you and that you care for and support them.
“They can really start to flourish – one of our placements came to us with no self-confidence but through trying and succeeding in new experiences she developed into a happy confident young woman.
“When she did work experience she travelled there on her own – something she wouldn’t have done before– and she did really well there.
“It gives them the chance of a future that they may not have had before, and that’s very satisfying.”
Debbie Kennard, county council deputy cabinet member for children – start of life, said: “Being a foster carer is extremely rewarding – you would be providing a safe and loving home to a child at a time when they need it most.
“But, as Rosemary says, it isn’t easy and we know taking the first step from thinking about it to applying to foster is a big one.
“That’s why we are running regular drop-in sessions for potential foster carers across the county.
“They are extremely useful – no question is ever too big or too small and the fostering team will always be happy to help you find out more.”
Foster carers come from all walks of life and from a range of cultural and ethnic backgrounds. People from a variety of backgrounds can apply to foster, regardless of their marital status or sexuality.
Fostering can be either short or long-term and can range from just a few days to several years. There are also several types of fostering.
Foster carers receive a comprehensive support package from the council, including on-going training and financial allowances to meet the needs of the children and young people in their care.
Find out more at the event sat Burgess Hill Library, The Martlets, Burgess Hill or visit www.westsussex.gov.uk/fostering or call 0330 222 7775.