Tuesday 02 May 2023
The Fostering Network's annual awareness campaign, Foster Care Fortnight™, is taking place from the 15th- 28th May across the UK continuing with last year's theme of #Fosteringcommunities as it was so well received.
On Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st May, the Mallard Cinema is hosting a free movie weekend to raise awareness of fostering, with all 3 movies on offer relating to fostering in some way.
Senior Supervising Social Worker Vicki Tennant, who focuses on recruitment and retention of carers, said:
"This year we have been really lucky to be supported by some great organisations to enable us to have drop-ins for people who are interested in fostering. Our main event to raise awareness of the need for fostering is being supported by The Mallard Cinema who are hosting a free movie weekend that is open to all. We will have staff and carers on hand before and after the movies for anyone who would like to find out more about fostering and the other services we provide. This is a free event but please still book tickets as normal through the Mallard website.
Alongside the event at the Mallard Cinema, 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 follows:
- Bright Beginnings Community Centre- Wednesday 17th May 12pm-5pm.
- The Mallard Cinema- Saturday 20th May 10am-10:30am, 12pm-1pm and 3pm-4 pm (either side of the movies Despicable Me and Annie) and Sunday 21st May 1pm-2pm and 4pm-5pm (either side of Instant Family)
- Town, Market Square, Friday 26th May 12pm-2pm.
The Family Placement Service use Foster Care Fortnight™ 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 we have seen how over the past few years the community has pulled together to support those in need. The Family Placement Service would love for the community of Guernsey 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 29 children living with 26 foster families in Guernsey. The reasons children come into care 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.
Vicki Tennant said:
"Foster Care Fortnight and the drop ins are being held along with several other initiatives and events throughout the year publicised through our social media page (Guernsey Foster Care and Adoption) to raise awareness of fostering in Guernsey and to encourage the recruitment of new foster carers.
If anyone has an event where we could attend or join in as part of raising awareness of the need for foster carers, then please let us know."
Karen Reade, Team Manager of the Family Placement Service, said:
"Foster carers make a huge difference to the lives of children and young people in our community at a time when they can't live with their own families, and they need care and support. I have been working with foster carers for over 30 years and I have seen the incredible difference they make.
Foster carers literally change lives, but we have a shortage of foster carers and we really do need more of them. There are different types of fostering that might suit your circumstances and we encourage interest from anyone who thinks they can make a difference to the life of a child or young person to get in touch with our service."
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 will be running its next Skills to Foster course on the 16th -18th June. The Skills to Foster Course which is a pre-approval preparation course for people who are interested in becoming foster carers. The course is designed to offer insight into fostering and the roles and responsibilities of foster carers. It will also help attendees to think about what fostering will mean for them and their families. Whilst helping attendees to decide if fostering is for them the course helps the Service to consider whether attendees have the potential to become foster carers. In addition, the course provides an opportunity for prospective carers to meet other people who are considering fostering.
The Skills to Foster is jointly delivered by Social Workers from the Family Placement Service and where possible run the course with current Foster Carers.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or phone us on 01481 223182 or e-mail the team email@example.com. 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.