At this time of year many parents face the emotional prospect of their children leaving for university or getting jobs away from home.
Now a new and innovative campaign is calling upon ‘empty-nesters’ to join an emerging trend by becoming one of the increasing number of more mature foster carers.
The fifth phase of the successful North West ‘You Can Foster’ campaign, a collaboration between the region’s 23 Local Authorities, kicks off next week (September 24, 2012) with focus on attracting those empty nesters in their late forties and fifties who are being asked to consider fostering for their council. They recognise the invaluable parenting skills more mature people have acquired in bringing up their own children and the potential lifeline that they could offer to children who remain in the care of their local authority.
According to the Fostering Network, the average age of foster carers is now 53 for females and 54 for males. In the year 2000, average ages were 46 and 47 respectively - showing a distinct upward shift in the age demographic of carers, which may be reflective of a combination of factors including more people taking early retirement, and the fact that people are living longer, healthier and more active later lives.
The You Can Foster campaign is aiming to incite discussion about fostering through its popular Facebook and Twitter presence, with the ultimate goal of recruiting more carers for children in need across the North West.
Cllr Graham Wright, Cabinet Member for Children and Family Services for Knowsley Council, said: “We have some fantastic foster carers in Knowsley who make a real difference to the lives of young people each and every day. Being a foster carer can be challenging but I know from speaking to our carers that the rewards are immeasurable.
“If you have found yourself with a bit of an ‘empty nest’ after your children have grown up and left home, fostering can be a way to use those valuable parenting skills you have gained over the years to help others.
“Our foster care team are more than happy to speak to anybody who is interested in finding out more – and if you do decide to become a carer there will be support, training and advice every step of the way.”
An Open Day for potential foster carers will be held on Tuesday, October 2 at the River Alt Centre, Woolfall Heath Avenue, Huyton, from 11.30am – 2pm.
Alternatively, Knowsley’s Fostering Team will be out at Tesco, Prescot Cables Retail Park, with information from 11am – 3pm on Tuesday October 9.
For more information on fostering for Knowsley visit www.youcanfoster.org or telephone 0800 634 7052.