TAMESIDE foster carer Maxine Wilson has spoken of the “magical moments” of fostering as part of a regional recruitment campaign.
The #youcanfoster campaign, backed by Tameside Council and 22 other local authorities, launches today (Monday September 12 2016) to highlight the need for more than 700 new Local Authority fostering households across the north west and invite local people to do something incredible.
Tameside Council’s fostering team is holding two drop in events at The Denton Centre, Acre Street, Denton, on Monday 26 September 2.30-5pm and Thursday 27 October 5.30-7.30pm for anyone wishing to informally speak to social workers and foster carers to find out more.
Maxine, 52, from Stalybridge, became a foster carer in 2012 after her children grew up and left home and she has since fostered five children.
She said: “I had been thinking about fostering for years and when my children left home I felt I still had so much to give so I decided to finally apply.
“It has been amazing. You share such magical moments – from taking the children to the seaside for the first time to them enjoying their first ever Sunday roast dinner around the family table.
“Of course it’s not all rosy all the time but the good bits far outweigh the bad. Providing nurturing and watching children grow in confidence and self esteem is like watching a flower open.
“You start seeing positive changes in the children right away and the more you get to know them and their background, the more you get to understand their behaviour and are able to help them.
Maxine currently fosters two children: an eight-year-old girl who is in her long term care – so could potentially stay with her until after university and beyond – and a ten-year-old boy.
She said: “It’s so rewarding to know you are making a positive difference by giving them the love, support, skills and independence to make a good start in life.
“I would recommend anyone thinking about it to go for it and if you have any qualms talk them through – I’m sure you’ll end up feeling reassured.”
Maxine told how she initially started fostering for a private agency but she quickly switched to working with Tameside Council.
She explained: “I had just searched ‘Tameside fostering’ online and didn’t even realise at first that it was private agency I was contacting – I thought it was the Council. I very quickly asked to switch to the Council – I didn’t see the point of money going to a middle man when it could instead be spent on helping local children and improving local services.
“The support and training you get from the Council is excellent and there are other benefits such as allowances for the children’s birthdays, Christmas and holidays. I would highly recommend it.”
Across England around 52,000 children and young people are in foster placements, 9,000 of them in the North West and 241 in Tameside. Around 3,400 families foster for their local authority.*
Securing a stable home environment for foster children is vital if they are to have the best chances in life and realise their ambitions.
Charlotte Ramsden, a Strategic Director of Children and Adults Services representing You Can Foster said: “People have a lot of preconceived ideas about why they might be ruled out as foster carers but the only thing that matters is the support you can offer the child. Whether you are older, single or never had children, you can foster. Foster carers don’t need superpowers, they just need to be able to provide a solid and reliable foundation for children and young people to find theirs.
She added: “If you are interested in fostering then your Local Authority is the best place to find out more. More people turn to their Local Authorities than any other fostering provider. Foster carers across the North West are benefiting from the support and training they provide.”
Tameside Council Executive Member for Children and Families Cllr Peter Robinson, himself a former foster carer, said: “In Tameside we have hundreds of children who need foster care and we constantly need more carers to provide the support and stable homes that these young people need to really thrive. Speaking from personal experience, I can recommend fostering as a wonderful career opportunity to support children and young people through the milestones of growing up and helping them to achieve their best.”
Tameside Council foster carers receive an excellent ongoing training and support package as well as an attractive allowance. The fostering team want to hear from people of all ages and backgrounds who may be able to provide a stable and caring home. They need foster homes for children of all ages, including young people in further education and also sibling groups.
For more information on fostering visit http://youcanfoster.org/