If you’ve ever considered fostering, but have been put off because of ‘myths’ about who can and can’t foster, Knowsley Council wants to hear from you.
According to a survey by charity Action for Children, many people are unaware that people over the age of 55, gay people and single men are all able to become foster carers.
Knowsley’s Fostering Service are keen to put the record straight and want to hear from anyone who is interested in fostering and wants to find out more. A quick five minute informal chat could be all it takes to dispel the myths and put you on the path to a rewarding career as a foster carer.
Cllr Graham Wright, Knowsley’s Cabinet Member for Children and Family Services, said: “We are keen to hear from anyone who thinks they might have what it takes to offer a loving home for young people at times in their lives when their family are unable to care for them.
Action for Children’s survey also found that 10% of adults were unsure about what fostering involved, confusing it with adoption. Unlike adoption, fostering involves providing temporary care for a child during a period of time when their own families are unable to, for a variety of reasons such as family problems or illness. A foster child could stay with you for a single night, several months, or maybe even years.
Other myths about fostering which emerged from Action for Children’s survey included that one in three believed you had to be a homeowner to foster. In fact, all Knowsley’s Fostering Service ask for is that you have at least one spare room.
Many people who were surveyed were also unaware that foster carers receive payment for their work. In fact, foster carers receive a generous allowance to care for children, making fostering a rewarding career option – there is even the opportunity to take training courses and develop professional skills.
And, if you foster for Knowsley Council you can even specify the age of the children you are willing to look after – something some private fostering agencies will not allow.
Sadly, Action for Children’s survey estimated that there is a shortage of about 1,250 foster carers in the North West – the largest need in the country.
Cllr Wright added: “We really want to hear from people who are interested in fostering for Knowsley, particularly if you are able to take more than one child to help keep family groups together, or if you would be willing to look after older children.
“Fostering is such a rewarding career – and if you don’t believe me, speak to any of the foster carers already doing it – their stories are really inspirational.”
For more information about fostering for Knowsley Council, take a look at the council’s website www.knowsley.gov.uk and search for ‘fostering’, or call Knowsley’s Fostering Service on 0151 443 3958.