Foster carers from across Bath and North East Somerset have come together to tell their stories of fostering and encourage more local people to open their homes to support children and young people in the area.
They’ve been joined by staff from the fostering and supported lodgings services team at Bath & North East Somerset Council who are also sharing their advice and tips to anyone considering helping a child or young person.
The new campaign launched today (April 4) called ‘Transform a Child’s Life’ features a series of videos of the foster carers and staff sharing their experiences and giving an insight into what it’s really like to foster.
The council is responsible for finding around 100 placements for children and young people every year, but the figure is steadily increasing, with demand having grown by around 40% in the last eight years. The current situation in Ukraine means that the council is now expecting to receive even greater numbers with more unaccompanied young people coming to the UK for safety.
Councillor Dine Romero, cabinet member for Children and Young People, Communities and Culture, said: “The work our foster carers do in supporting children is simply amazing and makes an enormous difference to the young peoples’ future success and outcomes in life, giving them stability and security. We know it is also a worthwhile experience for the carers too – you can see in these wonderful videos they’ve made just how much reward they get from it.
“However, we still need more people who are willing to open their homes to a child or young person and demand has increased due to refugees arriving from Ukraine. We’ve created this campaign to challenge some of the myths that people may have about fostering and show just how many people could be suitable to do it. For example, you don’t have to own your own home, or be in a couple, or a certain age or sexuality, and there are lots of options within our fostering service to suit all types of people. I urge people to watch these videos, listen to the stories, and consider if you could play a part in transforming a child or young person’s life.”
Current foster carer Debbie is a single mum who has been fostering for an incredible 35 years. She says: “If you’re considering doing it, my advice is to take a leap of faith and go for it. The difference it makes to a young person is that they’ve got a safe space and someone there to actively listen and support them. Fostering isn’t a thing that you do alone, the council team supports you and you have a support worker helping you through it, so you’re very much part of a team.”
As part of the campaign, B&NES has also redesigned its website to make it easier for people to find the information they need and decide if fostering could be for them. The new videos will be promoted across the council’s social media platforms and supported with advertising and editorial in the local media to reach as many people as possible.
To find out more about B&NES fostering service, visit fostering.bathnes.gov.uk