In the run-up to Foster Care Fortnight (16-29 May), Merton Council is calling on residents to consider fostering as a possible career.
Merton Council offers foster carers ongoing training and support as well as an allowance for each child they care for. Offering a child a stable home environment while they wait for a permanent adoptive family not only benefits the child, but also offer an income to the foster carer.
Reflective of the national picture, Merton has a shortage of foster carers to accommodate the number of children currently in the borough’s care homes.
The main qualities to become a foster carer are patience and a genuine care for children and their wellbeing. The practical requirements include a spare room and some experience of living or working with children. Fostering is ideal for teachers, nurses, people who look after other children or who are raising their own and have room to provide a home for another.
Merton Council cabinet member for children’s services Councillor Maxi Martin said: “Fostering is a challenging but rewarding way to earn a living, while providing a huge benefit to vulnerable children who cannot live with their own families. Fostering children means they can benefit from a stable and loving home environment which can give them a step up in life and a better start.”
Esther*, one of Merton’s carers said: ‘When I transferred from being a nurse to being a foster carer I was worried about losing all my skills. But I’m continuing to use my skills – just in a different setting. It doesn’t make them any less important and I haven’t looked back!
‘I love the fact that now I can be at home all day and still be working and learning and developing my skills. My caring side is allowing me to work at home and pay my bills. If you want job satisfaction and to spend time with your family, fostering is just perfect.’
Becoming a foster carer takes between three to six months and training is flexible to fit in with a carer’s commitments.
For more information on Merton’s fostering team visit http://www.merton.gov.uk/fostering call on 020 8545 4277.
Notes to editor
*Name of carer has been changed to protect their identity.
London Borough of Merton