Staffordshire County Council has launched a new campaign to target a particular shortage of foster carers for teenagers, with record numbers of children being placed in care.
The campaign is looking for people with experience in dealing with teenagers with emotional and behavioural difficulties, so-called “resilience foster carers’, and could include residential care workers, ex-police, prison officers or people who work in similar professions.
Resilience fostering is a unique opportunity where carers provide long term, family based placements to these young people aged 8 to 18 years old who are moving out of residential care. Many of these young people will have encountered abuse of some kind or neglect and may already have experienced a breakdown in a previous foster care relationship.
Mark Sutton, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People at Staffordshire County Council said: “We have already built up a network of foster carers who can provide stable homes for the majority of children who come into our care. However, it is vital that we find the right foster carers to support those children with the most challenging behavioural and emotional needs.
“We know that the stability and love of a family environment can really help these young people to reach their full potential and we hope to find those special people to help them make the transition into adulthood. Resilience foster care is not easy. As for any parent, there are good days and bad days. But for doing an extraordinary job, you’ll receive an extraordinary package of emotional, financial and practical support. If you’ve got the experience and you are up for a challenge then please get in touch with us.”
As a Resilience Foster Carer, people will need a spare room, have no other children under 18 years old living in the household and have experience of working with or caring for young people with behavioural and emotional difficulties. Carers will receive a retainer of £477 a week and a weekly allowance of up to £198 once a child is in placement. Extensive support is also provided, including weekly support visits, alongside professional support and training.
Resilience Foster Carer Simon said: “When I started resilience fostering I was met with a young person who viewed themselves as anything but worthy of love.
“Becoming a resilience carer, I was able to provide a loving, stable and secure home for someone who believed they didn’t deserve it and often acted out those feelings as a way of keeping people away, mainly from hurting or letting them down again.
“Through our shared resilience together we were able to overcome this, and with the extensive help and support that the team offers, my young person is now thriving and achieving everything he had been programmed to think wouldn’t happen. It is by far the best thing I have ever had the privilege of being a part of.”
As part of the campaign an information evening will be held on Wednesday 12 December, 7pm, Staffordshire Place 1,Tipping Street, Stafford and at Costa Coffee in the Queens Retail Park, Stafford from 10am-12pm on Friday 28 December. People can also find out more at www.care4child.org/resilience or by calling 0800 169 2061.