Foster Care Fortnight - it's time to care
14 May 2012
As national figures reveal that a child comes into care every 22
minutes, needing a foster family, could you change a child’s life
by becoming a foster carer?
As Foster Care Fortnight (14 to 27 May) begins, the Fostering Network revealed this
‘alarming figure’ to raise awareness of its annual campaign and to
raise the profile of fostering. Kent County Council is backing the
campaign and calling on people to find out more about this
challenging, yet rewarding role.
Charlotte Hampton has been a KCC foster carer for nine months.
She’s keen to dispel some of the myths that exist and encourage
people who have been thinking about fostering to take the first
step. She said: “It has been the most challenging and most
rewarding nine months I could ever have asked for. It’s everything
I wished it would be and more.
“I always thought this was something I was going to
do. I just never thought the timing was right. I had an idea that
you needed to have had your family, you needed to be settled, you
needed to married, your children needed to be grown up and you
needed to have life experience behind you in order to become a
foster carer. So I assumed until I’d ticked all those boxes I
wouldn’t be able to do it.
“Somebody told me that wasn’t the case and that I should go and
find out about it. I went to an information evening and from there
went to the next stage. At some point I thought someone will say
you’ve discounted yourself and actually that never happened. I kept
going and going and before I knew it I was at the approval point
and they were saying: ‘Welcome to the team’.
“The biggest thing for me was that it was a two-way process from
start to finish. You’re not trying to win a career, it’s not like a
normal interview. There are as many spaces as there are appropriate
carers and as many children looking for people to help them. They
need as many different people with different experiences so they
can match them. There is no stereotype for what a foster carer
“The application involves having some very sensitive
discussions. They’re asking you about yourself, about your life and
what you would like to offer. They are trying to find out as much
as they can about you, to find out if you are suitable. In some
respects it is intrusive but actually you don’t mind that.
“You learn very quickly the reasons why they’re asking the
questions and you understand very quickly what the need is for
that. And once you know, you’re willing to offer it. If it means
the child gets the best opportunity of being matched with the right
person that kind of information is essential.
“If you’ve thought about being a foster carer, pick up the phone
and speak to the initial enquiries team. Somebody will come and
visit you at home and have a really informal discussion with you.
It’s a lengthy discussion but it’s not designed to be an interview
– it’s just a conversation. It’s really invaluable that you make
that first step and find out if it’s right for you. It really could
Find out more about fostering
Foster care is provided for children or young people who are
unable to live with their parents for a variety of reasons.
Placements can be for a night or longer term while work is done to
return them to their family, be that parents or close relatives, or
they are considered for adoption. There are also specialist
fostering schemes to support children and young people with complex
There are two fostering information sessions during the
- Thursday 17 May at The Bay Point Club
(previously Pfizers Sports & Social Club), Ramsgate Road,
Sandwich, CT13 9QL
- Wednesday 23 May at St Teresa’s Church Hall,
Maidstone Road, Ashford, TN24 8TX
The events will help anyone interested in caring for a child or
children who are unable to live with their parents for a variety of
reasons, decide whether it is right for them. The presentation
about fostering starts at 7pm, with details of how to get started
and all the help and support that is available. Afterwards, there
is an opportunity to speak to foster carers about their
KCC Cabinet Member for Specialist Children’s Services, Jenny Whittle, said: “It’s time to care, so if
you’ve thought about fostering, please call 0845 330 2968. You have
the opportunity to make such a difference to a child’s life. KCC
has a lot to offer its foster carers – there are generous
allowances, high quality support and training –
and also respite to give carers time off.
“The support offered by the county council is unrivalled and I
want to make sure everyone who is considering fostering makes KCC
their first port of call. In the past year, we recruited more than
127 carers and have set a target of 140 in the next 12 months.
There are areas where new carers are needed most, particularly
Ashford, Canterbury, Dover and Maidstone – but interest is welcome
and needed from all parts of the county.”