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‘Proud to foster’

A mother spoke of her pride in being a foster carer ahead of this year’s Foster Care Fortnight.

The theme for this year’s national awareness campaign is ‘Proud to foster’, which began on Monday, and will continue until May 28, is being run by The Fostering Network.

West Sussex County Council, who is looking for more people to consider fostering, especially teenagers and sibling groups, is backing the national campaign.

The council will be holding a number of drop-in and chat events for Foster Care Fortnight to meet people and answering any questions they may have about fostering.

The national awareness fortnight will also be highlighting the diversity of people who foster – including single carers, professionals who foster alongside work, and people from all backgrounds and religions.

Ahead of this, a West Sussex foster carer, Nikki has spoken of how her family decided to open their home to vulnerable children.

Nikki was inspired to foster children after her role as a sessional worker brought her into contact with foster carers and the children they supported.

She is particularly proud of her own son, who has played a big part in fostering children. He was very young when they made the decision to foster.

Nikki said: “My own son has played more of a part than he realises. He has grown up more aware of the inequalities of life and it has made him a better person.

“I have a really big community of other foster carers around me, some of whom we met all those years ago on our Skills to Foster training. And our social work support has been fantastic.”

Nikki and her family have supported a number of children over the years – many of whom they are still in touch with. They are currently fostering siblings on a long-term basis.

Nikki said: “People assume brothers and sisters will be there for each other, but, like all siblings, they don’t always get on. It can be a challenge, but with some therapeutic support we are getting there.

“We can be proud that their time with us allowed them to move on and make good attachments elsewhere.”

Drop in and chat events have been held this week, by the county council’s fostering team. The following two events will take place next week:

• County Hall North (Parkside), Horsham – 22 May from 6.30 to 8.30pm
• Starbucks Broadwater – 24 May from 10am to 12noon

Stephen Hillier, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “Every single one of our foster carers in the county should be proud of the support they give to our children and young people.

“Some children may only need a few nights of support, others may need to spend a lot longer in foster care, but all of them need a friendly face who can give them the love and care they deserve.

“Thank you to everyone who gives up their time to give a child a loving home. Your help is invaluable.”

With more foster carers currently needed in West Sussex, the team is looking forward to talking to residents interested in fostering.

People can also find out more about fostering by visiting: www.westsussex.gov.uk/fostering or calling: 0330 222 7775.

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