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The Family Placement Service is calling on families in the Bailiwick of Guernsey to step up to the role of fostering, as Foster Care Fortnight™ 2022 gets underway 9th-22nd May.

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Thursday 05 May 2022

The Fostering Network's annual awareness campaign, Foster Care Fortnight™, is taking place from the 9th-22nd May across the UK with a theme this year of #Fosteringcommunities.

The Family Placement Service use this opportunity every year to highlight foster care in the Bailiwick and to encourage the local community to consider fostering a child or young person.  Whether Fostering is something you've considered for some time or thought about more recently, Foster Care Fortnight™ is a great time to see whether it might be right for you or your family.   

Guernsey is an amazing community, and the Family Placement Service would love to continue with the #Guernseytogether feelings from the past few years to support our children and young people to ensure every child who can't live with their own family gets the care they need and are well supported within their community. 

Fostering offers children and young people a home when they are unable to live with their birth family.  Sometimes children only stay with a foster family for a few days, while others will live with their foster family for their entire childhood and beyond.  Foster carers make a significant difference to the lives of fostered children and young people, helping them to flourish and changing their future.  Not only does fostering vastly benefit the children and young people, but it is also a life changing experience for the foster carers and their families.   

Foster carers who can care for teenagers and sibling groups are a particular need at the moment. We want to ensure that teenagers can get the support they need whilst still establishing their own independence in a safe and secure way and, for sibling groups, we want to ensure that children can be cared for together, so they don't lose vital connections to their family. 

Currently, there are 25 children living with 18 foster families in Guernsey. The reasons children become looked after varies widely, including a parent's illness or another problem which means they can't be cared for by their own family. Some children may have witnessed domestic violence or drug abuse, and others may have been abused or neglected.  

Each child's circumstances and needs are different, but every child has the right to have their needs met within their own community, together with their siblings if they have any. 

Senior Supervising Social Worker Vicki Tennant, who focuses on recruitment and retention of carers, said: 

"The focus of this year's campaign will be a series of drop-ins for people who are interested in fostering, along with a campaign including social media to raise awareness of fostering in Guernsey and encourage the recruitment of new foster carers.   

Please keep a look out for our pebbles which have been painted with #Fosteringcommunities around the island.   A big thank you to all our children, carers and staff that beautifully decorated them.  We'd also suggest everyone keep an eye out for some small fluffy creatures dotted around the island, which we would encourage members of the public to take away with them."   

Karen Reade, Team Manager of the Family Placement Service, said: 

"More people are urgently needed to come forward to foster and we have a particular need for those who may be interested in fostering teenagers. We want to make sure that we have enough foster carers for our children so they can be cared for in a family environment.  

If you think you have the space in your home and your heart, and the skills needed to help children thrive, please contact us. You can become a foster carer no matter your age, gender, relationship status or sexual orientation. The fostering community is open to everyone who wants to make a difference in a child's life, and we want to invite all the different communities in Guernsey to get involved in fostering.  

We are hugely appreciative of everything our current foster carers do for children in care, and we can't thank them enough. By supporting each other and working together as a team, our fostering community makes sure that our children can grow up in a safe, nurturing and loving environment where they can be supported to reach their full potential." 

The Family Placement Service will be holding drop-in sessions where members of the public can have an opportunity to speak to someone from the service over the course of Foster Care Fortnight.  The dates and venues are as below. 

One of our foster carers advises that: 

"Fostering children not only makes a huge difference to their lives but is also an investment in the generations to come." 

The Family Placement Service would also like to hear from anyone interested in the Supported Lodgings scheme and is looking for mentors to take on this supportive role.  This scheme is designed to offer an additional provision for young people who are ready to leave care but may not be ready to live alone.   

As a mentor you will offer guidance and assistance to young people, which will enable them to develop practical life skills, as well as further developing their emotional maturity to move on and to be better equipped to living independently, although this will not incur the same responsibility as a foster carer.  The Family Placement Service would like to hear from any individual or families who are able to provide accommodation and support for young people aged 18-21 years old. 

If you are interested in fostering, want to be part of this life changing role and think you could offer the support, stability and care to help change a child's future, please get in touch with us at change@guernseyfostercare.com or phone us on 01481 223182 or e-mail the team familyplacementservice@gov.gg.  Our team of social workers are ready to answer any questions you have about fostering, and we look forward to speaking to you.   

In addition, if your company or organisation is interested in the Family Placement Service coming to speak to you to find out more about fostering in your community, please let us know. 

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