The Council takes its corporate parenting responsibilities very seriously. We have just over 420 children in care, all of whom need love and support from a caring family background. That’s why we focus a lot of our time and energy on recruiting new foster carers.
We are constantly striving to improve our service, acknowledging the complex decisions any family will need to make when they decide to apply to become a foster carer.
In November, Council Cabinet received a topic review on our fostering recruitment and retention service from the Inspiring Young People Board, headed up by Councillor John Whitby, himself a foster carer. Councillor Whitby brings much needed first-hand experience of the demands, but also of the rewards of caring for foster children.
The topic review concluded that the situation the Council finds itself in, in not being able to recruit enough foster carers to look after children in our care and becoming more reliant on independent fostering agencies as a result, is one that is mirrored nationally.
The recruitment of more in-house foster carers will enable more children to be placed locally to Derby.
I have spent much of this year meeting our foster carers to find out more about the incredibly valuable role they play in the lives of the children they foster. I’ve held a coffee morning and a Christmas tea with foster carers and their children, also attended by the Mayor, Councillor Linda Winter, to show our collective support for the work they do.
I feel that it’s important in my role as Cabinet Member for Children and Young People and Safeguarding that I forge closer links with our carers, finding out more about them, their motivation and also the challenges they face. I have recognised their work formally by awarding certificates and sending each of them a personal Christmas card from me. It doesn’t sound much, but I want each of them to know the vital role they play on behalf of the children in our care.
During our get-togethers many foster carers have told me how the Council can better support them and improve our service to those who are thinking about becoming a foster carer.
With that in mind, have you heard about our New Year New Campaign? You can find out more about it here on our news web site.
We are holding an informal information and recruitment event on Saturday 28th January, at the Mickleover Court Hotel in Derby from 2pm. Please do come along if you’re thinking about fostering a child. Parking is free, and there will be refreshments but you will need to book a place. The booking form is also on our web site.
We will have a number of our current foster carers on hand to talk to you about their own experiences and why they decided to foster.
We are different from other fostering services in Derby city because as the Local Authority, we ensure that people are at the heart of everything we do. This means that the high level of support we provide to our foster carers is at the very core of our fostering service.
By equipping our carers to become highly knowledgeable, confident fostering professionals, they in turn are better able to give outstanding support to those they care for.
Highly supported children have a better sense of belonging and of being understood. They feel valued and feel that they matter. Most of all they feel safe, secure and able to start overcoming the difficult challenges they may have faced in their lives so far.
So, whatever your reasons for considering becoming a foster carer, I urge you to get in touch.
There is more information on becoming a foster carer on our web site including how to get in touch, either through requesting a call back from our fostering team, or by coming along to one of our regular drop-in sessions held at different venues in Derby.