Norfolk County Council thanks foster carers in the county
10 May 2021
Norfolk County Council is asking more people to consider becoming foster carers for the county’s most vulnerable children.
The call for more people to open their homes comes at the beginning of Foster Care Fortnight (10-23 May). The theme this year is ‘Why We Care’ and foster families in Norfolk have been sharing their reasons for welcoming vulnerable children and young people into their lives.
The campaign is asking people to think about a career in foster care, especially if they are reassessing their lives and priorities in the wake of the pandemic.
This past year, many foster carers stepped up despite the extraordinary circumstances. One carer recently put the needs of the young person first even though he was a high risk of being in contact with Covid-19. The carer provided emergency accommodation for this young person, regardless of the chance they’d been exposed to coronavirus due to sofa surfing and kept them over the bank holiday weekend. The carer has provided support to this young person twice more since.
There are just under 1,100 Looked After Children in Norfolk, and 350 foster caring households, with more demand for couples or individuals willing to support sibling groups or children who need to experience opportunities to enjoy their childhoods.
Amy registered to become a foster carer in the September before lockdown hit. She’d wanted to foster since school and had previously been working in a residential unit for children. She and her husband met their first placement in July and haven’t looked back.
“When our placement first moved in, they were overly compliant which was scary, but now they’re really finding their voice and making their own choices. You can never truly know what a child’s experience has been. When we met the child they’d never been to the park or even eaten an ice cream and they wouldn’t let us pick them up. Now they’re jumping on the trampoline and rolling around with our dog and does everything that they wouldn’t have thought of doing when they moved in in July.”
Lynn, 57 has been a foster carer in Norfolk for 9 years. Lynn’s youngest daughter has severe disabilities, she says it helps them better understand the struggles that foster children may feel fitting in. “I think our placements understand my daughter’s disability and that we’re not your stereotypical family. When children see my daughter fitting in, they realise they can too.”
This past year, Lynn says the pandemic has put additional pressure on her family but it’s all about holding on to the positive side of what you’re achieving. “There’s no easy answer and it can be really hard but the reward is phenomenal, you can’t describe it. The training we’ve been given has become invaluable.” Full training and support is given throughout the foster carer application process and also once a new foster carer has been approved.
Phil Watson, Director of Children’s Social Care, Norfolk County Council said: “I cannot thank our incredible foster carers enough for their dedication to Norfolk’s children.
“Hearing their stories and those of the young people that have been placed with our carers over the years is testament to their skill and hard work. Thanks to them, many children have been able to grow as part of a safe and secure family.
“I would urge anyone who thinks they may have space in their hearts and their homes to find out more and consider a role as a foster carer.”