Urgent call for new Peterborough foster carers due to shortage
There has been an urgent call for people to sign up to the Peterborough fostering service due to a shortage of carers.
Emergency Foster Carers fulfil a vital role in providing safe homes to children and young people when it becomes unsafe for them to live with their family. These emergency situations can arise at any time of day or night, with Foster Carers providing a safe space for the child or young person to stay for a period of usually 7 days before a more permanent placement can be found for them.
Jo (50), who is a Peterborough Foster Carer, offered her skills to the emergency fostering service after she had primarily fostered primary ages children with them for 9 years.
In addition to providing long term care for children, Jo currently provides emergency care for children aged 10 and under. Although Jo has a strong support network, she advises that emergency Foster Carers must always remain prepared and adaptable.
“I always have a supply of clothes and equipment, baby bottles and milk, teddies and blankets,” Jo explains, “though I often have to go out the following day to buy clothes, shoes and coats.”
Jo believes that emergency Foster Carers should be caring, patient and have a willingness to complete extensive training. The children who come to stay with emergency carers are likely to have experienced significant trauma and due to the sensitive nature of the child’s circumstances, carers are supported by skilled and experienced Fostering Social Workers and our out of hours Emergency Duty Team.
“The children may have been asked difficult questions about the people they love,” Jo says. “They are scared, tired, hungry, and often in need of a bath. I take everything at their pace and go with what they are happy to do or say.”
“I have a room full of toys and games and a supply of teddies to try and encourage them to feel safe and secure. No matter what time of night they come in, I will always offer them something to eat and drink.”
Jo loves being a Foster Carer and feels that her role as an Emergency Foster Carer fits alongside her regular carer role.
“It gives me a sense of satisfaction and fulfilment that I am there for these children,” says Jo. “I am glad to be playing a vital role in the life of a young person and their future.”
However, Jo says that more emergency Foster Carers are urgently needed. JCouncillor Bryony Goodliffe, Chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Children and Young People’s Committee said: “Children and young people who are suddenly without a home need people like Jo to give them a safe space. It is important that we have more emergency Foster Carers so that we can support children and young people to remain local and keep those local support networks in place. I urge people in the community to consider joining our service so we can continue to provide this level of care.”
Councillor Lynne Ayres, Peterborough City Council’s cabinet member for children’s services said: “It’s a very difficult situation when family situations change without warning. We hope the amazing work Jo does will help to inspire others to come forward and support children and young people who are suddenly without a home.”
If you’re compassionate, resilient, over 21 years of age, have a spare bedroom, but above all think you have all the qualities and skills to become a Foster Carer, visit www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/fostering or www.peterborough.gov.uk/fostering, call 0800 052 0078 or text FOSTERING to 60777.