Aug 30 2013

Harrow’s Bid to Recruit More Foster Carers

harrow_council_logo2Harrow Council is calling on caring and dedicated residents to become foster carers and make a real difference to a child’s life. The Council needs to increase the number of foster carers who will be able to provide a safe and secure home to children in the borough.

There are 175 Harrow children in foster care at the moment and the council has 58 fostering households (single carers or couples). The number of children in need of a placement at any one time can fluctuate. There is a need for carers who can look after siblings, and take mother and baby placements.

Foster carers receive a weekly payment, comprehensive and continuous training and ongoing support from social workers. Each carer has their own dedicated supervising social worker and there are monthly support groups and a network of other carers to offer help and support.

Former nurse Berna Grant has been a foster carer for 22 years and has looked after around 150 children, both long term and for respite breaks. She said: “I have been a nurse all my life and I really enjoyed caring for people. I wanted to continue caring and I realised that there were children out there who needed a home. I have hugely enjoyed it. It’s particularly rewarding when you see a change in a child and when they come back after they’ve left and say thank you. To be a foster carer, you need to have patience, understanding and love children. But the main thing is patience! You get a lot of training and support. The Council’s link workers are always there when you need them and the training is very good. You can get training in everything from managing challenging behaviour and first aid.”

She concluded: “Even though I’ve been doing this for so long I still repeat my training, there are always things you can learn.”

Harrow Council Portfolio Holder for Children and Families Cllr Zarina Khalid said: “We would love more people to come forward to take on this vital role and help the Council to support children in need. Sometimes people have perceptions of foster caring that stop them from coming forward – they think they will not be suitable because they are too old or too young, or they simply think they won’t be good at it. Our team are on hand to give you all the advice and support you need to make the decision about whether you would like to become a foster carer, and if you do decide to take on this rewarding role they will give you all the support and guidance that you need.”

To find out more about being a foster carer call 0800 0641000, email fpuduty@harrow.gov.uk or visit  www.harrow.gov.uk/fostering.

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