You may have considered fostering before, but thought the time wasn’t right for you or your family.
But maybe now your circumstances may have changed – and perhaps it’s time to think again. For example, your employment status may have changed as a result of Covid-19 and you may now be in a better position to think about foster care as a career option.
Wigan Council is appealing for anyone who thinks they can give love, support and stability to a child to consider becoming a foster carer – one of the most rewarding roles you could ever perform.
Like authorities across the country, Wigan Council’s fostering service is experiencing increased demand as the national shortage of foster carers grows, with an additional 44 children being placed into care since this time last year.
They are particularly in need of families who can offer placements to teenagers, siblings and children with additional needs.
Cllrr Jenny Bullen, cabinet member for children and families at Wigan Council said: “The demand on children’s social care continues to be a national issue. As demand continues to rise, we need to be sure that we have a big enough foster carer cohort to keep our children and young people in Wigan Borough so they can remain connected to their communities, schools and friends.”
Currently, Wigan Council has no local placement vacancies because a lot of the borough’s younger children have already been connected with foster carers.
This means the local authority needs to recruit new foster carers, specifically those who are interested in looking after teenagers and children with additional needs, to ensure children can remain in-borough.
Cllr Bullen added: “We understand that fostering a teenager or a child with additional needs might sound like it would require particular experience, but we’re committed to supporting all of our foster carers to ensure they receive the best training possible.
“Foster care experience or a background in supporting children with additional needs isn’t mandatory and we will only ever place a child or teenager with an appropriate match to ensure the placement is the best it can be.”
The council has a proven track record of finding supportive placements in Wigan Borough for 65 per cent of its children in care, which is higher than the national trend of 50 per cent and of some of its neighbours, who place 45 per cent.
Foster carers currently working with Wigan Council are also supportive of the local authority’s approach to training, benefits and guidance.
Chris and Deb Bullitt are foster carers with Wigan Council and look after teenagers from the borough.
Chris said: “Your teenage years can be the most complicated time in your life. Life for each generation of teens gets harder and harder with social media and peer pressure, so imagine those teenage years without a mum and dad or a stable home. Imagine what it would be like to miss your brothers and sisters.
“We love to foster teenagers – we have an empathy and understanding with them because we were troubled teenagers ourselves. That makes us just the right sort of people with compassion and insight into what they need and are going through.
“Every child deserves a safe, loving environment and help to become the best that they can be. We are proud to be foster carers, making a difference and changing lives for the better.”
For more information about fostering, please visit Wigan Council’s fostering page.