Peterborough foster carer urges residents to help provide homes for youngsters.
A Peterborough foster carer is urging people across the county to help Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council’s Fostering Service provide homes for siblings and teenagers.
As part of their current ‘The Real Faces of Fostering’ campaign, both local authorities are highlighting the achievements and experiences of social workers, foster carers and young people in care. The Councils’ aim is to encourage new foster carers to join the team and to support their community in providing foster homes for local children and young people.
Cecilia (60) and Neil (62), from Peterborough, have fostered around 200 children during their 30-year fostering career. They have 7 adult children, 4 of whom were fostered or adopted, as well as 5 grandchildren, a family arrangement Cecilia describes as “wonderful”.
She said: “Our Christmases are very big and joyful. I can say that whilst I have, on occasions, been tired, I have never been bored!”
The Councils’ Fostering Service urgently needs to find homes for sibling groups (brothers and sisters), and children over the age of 10 years.
Cecilia said: “The relationship with siblings is incredibly precious and is the longest that most of us will have in our lives.
“We need more foster carers so that siblings can remain together.”
Providing a safe, loving and stable home environment is also essential for young people in care as they approach adulthood, whether they’re preparing to join the world of work or are pursuing higher education so that they have the best chances in life and are supported to realise their hopes and dreams.
“We have had several young people go on to university and college,” says Cecilia. “We prepare them to manage their own money, do their own washing and ironing and understand how to eat healthily – but we like them to know they can still come back to us in the university holidays, or for Christmas or Sunday lunch anytime.”
Throughout her career as a foster carer, Cecilia has considered her role to be like that of any other parent or carer: to provide a happy, safe family home environment where children and young people can grow and thrive.
Cecilia added: “Many of our children have experienced trauma in their pasts, and we receive excellent support from our supervising social worker who always has a good listening ear and provides a good sounding board for helping with some of the challenges.
“We try to build a positive relationship with the child and young person’s parents and the extended familes of the young people we foster, even when that relationship can be difficult. If we work together, that’s very helpful for the young person. My 14-year-old foster child says that they mostly just want to be loved.”
Councillor Lynne Ayres, Peterborough City Council’s cabinet member for children’s services, said: “Supporting so many of our children and young people is an incredibly selfless feat, one which we hope will inspire a new generation of foster carers. Thank you, Cecilia, for helping keep family members together and for giving teenagers a firm footing as they start their journey into adulthood and beyond.”
Councillor Bryony Goodliffe, Chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Children and Young People’s Committee, said: “We are so grateful to carers like Cecilia who dedicate so much of their life to supporting young people as they begin theirs. We hope that our campaign will encourage more and more local people to come forward to become a foster carer so that they can provide a supportive and loving fostering household, like Cecilia’s to our children and young people in care.”
You can watch Cecilia’s video on the council’s YouTube channel - https://youtu.be/Dqx_BvQ2d5w
For more information call 0800 052 0078 or visit the Peterborough City fostering website.