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 Foster Care Transforms Lives

“Being in foster care has had the biggest impact on my life. It has opened doors and helped me experience a life that I never knew was possible.”
Thomas Anderson, now aged 27, was just one of thousands of children helped by Hertfordshire County Council’s Fostering Service.

Foster with us and quote from Thomas

As part of Foster Care Fortnight (May 14 to 27 2018), Hertfordshire County Council’s fostering and adoption recruitment team is now urging people to consider transforming their lives and the lives of children by becoming foster carers.

The team is supporting the national campaign led by The Fostering Network to show that “Foster Care Transforms Lives”.

Thomas said: “Being fostered enabled me to progress through education and achieve to the best of my ability, obtaining two degrees. It showed me what a loving family is like, one which I am still part of today. Foster care offered me support and stability, both things that were lacking in my life.

“I can ultimately say that if I was not fostered, then my life may have taken me down different avenues and that I am very grateful to the service.”

Foster care does not just transform the lives of the young people who are fostered, it also has the power to positively change the lives of foster carers, their families and all those who are involved in fostering.
Gloria Swanston, who has been fostering with Hertfordshire County Council for about 17 years said: "When I wanted to be a carer I was initially thinking about how I wanted to make a difference to a child's life. I didn't really think about what a positive difference fostering would make on my life, but it has had a huge impact."

Foster Dad Foster nurse

In Hertfordshire there are over 900 children and young people in care and many live with Hertfordshire’s foster carers. Each month, Hertfordshire County Council receives an average of 55 requests for new foster placements, with many being requests to place children over the age of 10 years, sibling groups and those with more complex needs.

Anyone who becomes a foster carer with Hertfordshire County Council will receive unrivalled support every step of the way, including through preparation and ongoing training.

Please contact the fostering and adoption team if you would like more information on 0800 917 0925, email fostering.recruitment@hertfordshire.gov.uk or visit www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/FCF2018

Something missing at this special time of year? Fill the space in your home and your heart and foster with us

Hertfordshire County Council is calling on parents of young people who have left home to consider whether fostering might be the way to fill the extra space in their homes and their hearts.

In Hertfordshire there are just over 835 children and young people in care and many live with Hertfordshire’s foster carers. Each month, we receive an average of 55 requests for new foster placements, with more requests to place older children (aged 10+), sibling groups and those with more complex needs

Christmas is a wonderful time for families, but when your own grown up children have moved on, it might feel like something is missing. Becoming a foster carer can fill that gap and at the same time, help provide a child with the security and stability they desperately need.

Empty nesters potentially make great foster carers because they’ve often already got the skills and experience needed to look after children and teenagers, whether this is for a short term or longer term period.

Jacqueline, 50, from Stevenage, who is currently fostering three children, including a pair of siblings said: “My husband and I were short term foster carers for a few years before we decided to do it long-term. The siblings we were looking after were unable to find a home together and we wanted to try our best to keep them united. Our son who was at university at the time, talked us into considering long term fostering and gave up his room to make this possible.

“Christmas can be a difficult time when your children are away. But sharing your home and heart with someone else makes it special. Some of the children we fostered had never celebrated Christmas. Simply sharing a meal with them, seeing the smiles on their faces, sharing a sense of belonging and a place they can call home, even for a short time, was magical. To me that truly is the spirit of Christmas.”

If you can offer a comfortable, safe and loving home, we would love to hear from you. Fostering isn’t easy, but it’s truly rewarding and can make a huge difference to the lives of children in care.

Anyone who fosters with Hertfordshire County Council can expect unrivalled support. If you are interested in fostering with us, we’ll be there to guide you through the process, every step of the way.

For more information visit:

Social media messages:

Twitter

Children away this Christmas? Fill a space in your home and your heart and foster with @hertscc http://ow.ly/jvBc30h9aoI

Something missing this Christmas? @hertscc needs your help to transform the lives of children & young people. Foster with Herts http://ow.ly/jvBc30h9aoI

Do you have room for one more stocking? Fill a space in your home and your heart and foster with @hertscc http://ow.ly/jvBc30h9aoI

Jacqueline loves fostering “Christmas can be a difficult time when your children are away. But sharing your home and heart with someone else makes it special.” http://ow.ly/jvBc30h9aoI

Facebook

Jacqueline, 50, from Stevenage, who is currently fostering three children, including a pair of siblings said: “Christmas can be a difficult time when your children are away. But sharing your home and heart with someone else makes it special. Some of the children we fostered had never celebrated Christmas. Simply sharing a meal with them, seeing the smiles on their faces, sharing a sense of belonging and a place they can call home, even for a short time, was magical. To me that truly is the spirit of Christmas.”

If you are interested in fostering with Hertfordshire County Council, they’ll be there to guide you through the process, every step of the way. For more information visit http://ow.ly/jvBc30h9aol

Private Fostering in Hertfordshire

Do you know of a child or young person who is living in a private fostering arrangement? 

Private fostering is when a child or young person under 16 (under 18 if they have a disability) lives with an adult who is not a close relative for 28 days or more. We are urging childcare and education professionals to get in touch if they become aware of any private fostering arrangements to help us ensure the safety and well-being of children not living with a direct relative.

The law states that the county council need to be told if a child or young person isn’t living with their parents so that we can make sure they are healthy, safe and receiving appropriate care. Our fostering team can also give help and advice to the carers, the parents and the young person.

We are asking schools across Hertfordshire to tell us about any child or young person who is not living with their parents. Please contact the Customer Service Centre on 0300 123 4043.

If you work in a children's centre, contact our Friends and Family Fostering Team manager Lorna Forde on 01442 453595.

Recruiting Foster Carers in Hertfordshire - Can you Help?

Each year we need to recruit more than 60 new foster carers who provide care, support and stability to children and young people who are going through some tough times.

We would love to hear from anyone who is interested in fostering. Just drop us a line on 0800 917 0925 or email us on fostering.recruitment@hertfordshire.gov.uk

Foster carers receive up to £400 per child per week (depending on age of child and experience of carer). We offer excellent local training and support to all carers.

Did you know that we also have a small team of Specialist foster carers who have professional experience of working with children and young people.

Our specialist carers care for children and young people with more challenging needs and work closely with our adolescent resource centres. They receive up to £600 per week for this demanding role.

Please call us on 0800 917 0925 to find out more.

Recommend a Friend to Fostering

Remember – as a member of Hertfordshire County Council if you recommend to us someone who goes on to be approved as a foster carer, you will be elible for £300 in High Street vouchers. Just call the recruitment team on 0800 917 0925 with their details.


Working Together to Keep Children Safe - an Update on Private Fostering

Since early 2006 the private fostering action group has been working to raise the profile and understanding of private fostering with professionals from CSF and its partners.

Under the Children Act 1989 the local authority needs to be told if a child or young person isn’t living with their parents so that it can make sure they are healthy, safe and doing well. We will then arrange regular visits to check that the child or young person is being well looked after and we can also give help and advice to the carers, the parents and the young person.

In the last few years there has been a significant increase in the number of notifications. However, this still needs to be increased as it is estimated that there may be hundreds of children across the county in private fostering arrangements that we haven’t been notified about. This is a potentially vulnerable group of children who often remain invisible to CSF.

New Private Fostering Leaflet for Children and Young People
CSF has produced posters and leaflets that have been distributed widely across the county.  There is an addition to this series with a leaflet aimed at young people at the assessment stage to help explain what happens in private fostering arrangements and how CSF will be involved.