COUNCIL chiefs were out and about across Calderdale over the weekend to highlight the need for more foster carers.
More than 200 people have asked about becoming foster carers since Calderdale Council launched a hard-hitting campaign in January - but now they want to re-double their effots. National Foster Care Fortnight runs until May 27, to promote the need for fostering, especially those who could care for teenagers.
Posters and adverts have been put up around Calderdale and council officials will be out across the area tomorrow, along with foster carers.
Councillor Megan Swift (Lab, Town), cabinet member for children’s social care, said: “We need carers who can offer support and stability to our looked-after chidlren and young people and help them achieve their full potential. With more foster carers in Calderdale we could help ensure that wherever possible, looked after children do not have to move schools. This is especially relevant for teenagers nearing important exam times. More carers would also help us ensure that brothers and sisters can be looked after together.”
Calderdale Council’s Leader, Cllr Janet Battye, says: “Fostering can be a really rewarding career for those who have the commitment and the patience. It’s just as important to give teenagers a safe and secure home, where they can be supported, as it is to give that same support to younger children, so I particularly welcome this campaign.”
Calderdale residents Janet and Bob Garton, of Phoebe Lane, Siddal, started fostering more than 20 years ago. They first cared for babies and young children but since the early 1990s have exclusively fostered teenagers, including some young offenders.
Bob, 67, said: “Even just the little things, like bringing a smile to a teenager’s face by sitting down for a meal together around a table for the first time in their life. It’s impossible not to enjoy those moments and be affected by them. He added: “Unfortunately there is a stereotype of teenagers that gives many people a negative impression. But when teenagers come in to our home, they’re just ordinary kids with dreams, personalities and feelings.”
Janet, 59, said: “It’s challenging but so rewarding. Every day is different and the adrenaline is constantly pumping. Apart from financial reward, the best thing is when the teenagers get back in touch and tell you of their successes and achievements.”
Between 11am and noon on Saturday May 19, foster carers and council staff will be the Southgate precinct in Halifax, St George’s Square in Hebden Bridge and Todmorden’s outdoor market. Visit www.calderdale.gov.uk/fostering or call 0845 245 6000.