All children deserve to feel loved and safe – foster a child

People, Health and Care
16:22, Monday, 15th June 2020

North Lincolnshire Council is looking for people to foster children of all ages from a range of backgrounds, including those seeking asylum.

Throughout Refugee Week (15 to 21), the council will be spreading the word that foster carers are needed for children seeking asylum.

Children have travelled across continents and need foster carers who can give support, encouragement, security and make them feel welcomed. Could you offer this to a child?

A fostering phone-in event is taking place on Thursday 18 June from 5.45pm to 6.45pm. To take part, give the North Lincolnshire Fostering Service a call on 01724 297000 and they will be happy to answer your questions.

You may not feel ready to foster, but you can still ask the team any questions to find out if it is right for you. If fostering isn’t something you feel able to do, let others know that foster carers are needed in North Lincolnshire, all are welcome to call.

All children’s needs are different, whether this be through their culture, language, religion, a disability, age or gender.

Support and training will be given to help foster carers develop their knowledge and skills to meet the individual needs of any child being cared for. Foster carers have regular opportunities to meet other foster carers and professionals, including activities and events.

There is no such thing as a typical foster carer. Foster carers can be in their 20s, single, in same sex relationships, some don’t have their own children, and are all from different cultures and backgrounds.

If you cannot take part in the phone-in event but could open up your home to care for a child who cannot be cared for by their family, get in touch with North Lincolnshire Fostering Service on 01724 297000, visit the fostering page or text ‘foster’ to 84433.

Shelly (aged 43) and Richard (aged 52) have been fostering with North Lincolnshire Fostering for four years. They said:

“We chose to foster children seeking asylum as there was a need for carers. We can honestly say we have had a fantastic experience with all three boys. We still keep in touch and one comes for holidays.

“The support team at the council is fantastic and we would recommend fostering with North Lincolnshire Fostering Service.”

Joyce (aged 63) from North Lincolnshire is a single foster carer. After thinking about fostering for many years she decided four years ago that she should do something about it, and contacted North Lincolnshire Fostering Service. She said:

“I was a host mother for John Leggott College’s international unit for 15 years and was asked if I would consider caring for an asylum seeking child as I had experience of language and cultural differences. All the children I have cared for have been polite, honest and friendly. On the whole it has been a rewarding experience.”

Laura and Keith from North Lincolnshire felt it was a time in their lives when they wanted to give something back to others. They said:

“We’ve always had a busy household with six grown up children between us and quite a few grandchildren who have now all flown the nest, so we thought we would give fostering a go. We wanted to offer a child a safe and hopefully happy home to flourish with guidance from our experiences of bringing up our own children.

“When we were approved as foster carers we wanted to offer short breaks for children with disabilities, this soon changed when we were asked to offer a home to a young boy with health problems seeking asylum. This meant a commitment of at least six months, we said yes and 18 months later we are still together. Currently we are caring for two asylum seeking children.

“Our experience has been amazing. As their journeys from their homeland to the UK is gradually disclosed as trust is built, your admiration for these young people grows daily. Their experiences makes them strong, resilient, resourceful, respectful, trustworthy and appreciative. How they deal with the experiences they have suffered, many leaving all of their family behind is beyond imagination and all we can do is embrace them into our families at the pace they want to be involved.

“Caring for young people seeking asylum will enrich your cultural knowledge as you pick up bits of their language, learn to cook food they like and listen to them singing cultural songs. You get to meet other young people from their communities and other foster carers.

“As with any teenager, there are ups and downs but for the most part our experience has been enriching. We have offered our home to many young people seeking asylum, from day care to long term.

“The North Lincolnshire Fostering team is brilliant. Our social workers are very good, tailoring the levels of support to the situations you’re experiencing. Communication, as with most things, is key to a professional relationship and for us this has been exceptional. Our current social worker is a joy to be around, but equally great at getting the job done.”