Informal session for those interested in fostering

Chichester people are being invited to find out more about fostering children and young people and celebrate Foster Care Fortnight at a drop-in session in the city this month.

West Sussex County Council is holding the informal session for prospective foster carers on Tuesday, May 22, from 10am to 4pm, at the public library in Tower Street.

“It’s a chance for people to talk to members of the fostering team and ask any questions they may have,” said a county council spokesman.

“Foster Care Fortnight runs this year from Monday, May 14, to Sunday, May 27 – and the county council is using the national campaign to highlight the need for more foster carers to come forward and give security and stability to children in care.

“Foster carers come from all walks of life and from a range of cultural and ethnic backgrounds. People from a variety of backgrounds can apply to foster, regardless of their marital status or sexuality.”

Fostering could be either short or long-term and could range from just a few days to several years. There were also several different types of fostering.

Ann, from the Chichester district, and her husband have been foster carers for eight years.

She said: “As our children grew up I had ‘empty nest syndrome’. I like looking after children and so we applied to be foster carers. It was an intense process and there were lots of checks, but you understand why these have to be done.

“We love being foster carers. It’s hard work, but very rewarding to see the children blossom while they are with you. You’re not a foster carer on your own – we have support from a family placement social worker and other agencies to help you bring out the best in the children with you.

“We’ve stayed in touch with some of the children we have looked after.”

Cllr Peter Evans, county cabinet member for children and families, said: “Foster carers like Ann give our looked after children a loving, family environment to grow in.

“We are currently looking for more foster carers in the Chichester area to come forward.”

Foster carers received a comprehensive support package from the council, including ongoing training and financial allowances to meet the needs of the children and young people in their care.

Drop-in sessions are being held throughout the county this year. For further information visit the website at www.westsussex.gov.uk/fostering.