foster parent
Family & Home

Foster Care Fortnight

For two weeks in May an annual awareness campaign is run to encourage people to take up the hugely rewarding task of fostering.

Annie Cowen looks at how you can get involved in North Bristol…

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“What’s my only regret with fostering? That I didn’t start it sooner. Sure, there are difficult days, but you’re looking after children who have often had difficult starts to life. The key thing however, is they are children. They love to play, be silly and have one-on-one attention.”

Bristol carer Alex has enjoyed an incredible time fostering children, and for her some of the best experiences have been the simplest, like seeing a child’s reading improve or their height shoot up because they’re having regular meals. 

“Seeing children grow in confidence is wonderful too – children who hide behind your legs gain the confidence to ask for their own bus tickets. I’ve looked after eight children now, and I know I’m always going to remember them; I hope when they’re bigger they remember me too. If you have a spare room and a big heart pick up that phone. You can look after children weekends only or full-time too.”

Foster Care Fortnight

Run every year, this year’s campaign will take place from Monday, May 13 to Sunday, May 26. It’s organised by The Fostering Network and highlights how everyday people can provide a child with a loving and caring family when they need it most. 

From neglect to domestic abuse, the reasons behind a child needing foster care may vary, which is why the role of foster carer is so important. You can also foster in a way that suits you – so that might be short-term, long-term, emergency or even fostering for adoption. Here’s a handy link on the various types.

foster parent

The reasons will be many and varied – and utterly unique to you. The most important reason, is because you want to. 

Most fostering agencies will provide information on the things they need from a foster carer to be eligible

Attending fostering events will help you speak to people who’re involved and who’ve done it themselves. These individuals can be hugely inspiring!

Bristol City Council foster carer Mark says: “We learn so much from the children themselves that it feels like they have enlightened our lives while we have stabilised theirs. Fostering is challenging for sure but we go to sleep holding onto those small wins.”

Where can I find out more?

Bristol City Council holds community events – the next one is 11am to 3pm at the Jobfair Galleries in Broadmead and On June 12 and 11am to 3pm at the Jobfair in Cabot Circus. 

Amicus Foster Care also holds recurring information evenings. the St Werburghs Community Centre; and during Foster Care Fortnight there will be an event every night from 6.15pm to 7.45pm. To keep up-to-date with their other upcoming evenings follow their Facebook page.

There are also a range of foster care agencies which welcome drop-ins and online enquiries. You can find a complete list of agencies in your area on the Fostering Network website. 

The Fostering Foundation not only welcomes new foster carers to their Bristol office but provide continued support through fun activities that you and the kids can enjoy together.

What support is out there?

foster child

While every agency will vary in the level of support they offer to their foster carers, all will be sufficient to help you feel confident and supported throughout your fostering experience. 

Alex says: “I’ve met lots of other foster carers since I began and they and their kids have become like an extended family. I also get the help from my social worker and I attend support groups where we chat freely about issues we are having. Furthermore, there is 24-hour telephone support available too.”

A lot of the agencies provide 24-hour support, seven days a week so that you can feel comfortable in the knowledge that help is there if you need it. 

Some agencies also provide group events so that you and the children you foster can meet up and get to know one another, which is a fantastic way to meet people in a similar situation.

If you decide to become a foster carer it won’t happen overnight so you’ll have plenty of time to prepare and feel ready. You will go through training programmes to ensure you are fully equipped with the necessary knowledge to be a great foster carer.

If you decide to become a foster carer it won’t happen overnight so you’ll have plenty of time to prepare and feel ready. You will go through training programmes to ensure you are fully equipped with the necessary knowledge to be a great foster carer.

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