Column: Cllr Kate Foale praises foster carers

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During the last two years in my role as lead councillor for Children’s Social Care at Nottinghamshire County Council I have been immensely proud to meet and chat with many of the county’s foster carers.

The people I’ve met are dedicated and committed to providing loving homes for children in the care system, and it cannot be underestimated the vital role they play in keeping the children of Nottinghamshire safe.

During Foster Care Fortnight (June 1 – 14) we celebrated our wonderful foster carers by letting them tell their stories. People like Sue and Derek Peck from Church Warsop who have been fostering for 25 years and who currently foster a sibling group of three. Their daughter Emma from Langwith, who has recently been approved as an 11+ foster carer, currently fosters a young girl. The Pecks are helping us find homes for some of the most difficult to place children – sibling groups and older children and sibling groups.

At the end of May 2015 there were 851 looked after children in Notts with 75 per cent of looked after children in foster care. Of the 635 children currently in foster care, 403 are with Notts County Council carers and 232 with independent foster agencies.

The financial impact of placing a child in care with an external provider as opposed to an NCC carer is around £215 per week or just over £11,000 per year in additional costs. To place a child in residential care costs the County Council almost £200,000 a year.

That is why in these days of budget cuts and tightening our belts we need to recruit more Nottinghamshire County Council carers.

A good foster carer will believe in the ambition of the children in their care in the same way they’d believe in the ambition of their own family members. A childhood is too short to waste, and foster carers can help those who haven’t had the best start begin to enjoy their life and grow into the adults that they want to be.

If you think you could become a foster carer visit www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/foster.