Merton Council is calling on those whose grown up children have left home to consider becoming foster carers for the Council.
Although the Council is keen to recruit people from all walks of life, people with good life experience skills who may have brought up their own children are particularly in need so that when sibling groups of school age children need to come into care there are adults with much needed experience to be able to offer them a home. People with the space, time and energy to look after these children will offer some stability to them at a difficult time in their lives. This can often be people whose own children have left home and are now ready for a new challenge.
Merton is stepping up its recruitment campaign for more foster carers to provide local homes for Merton’s children in care, especially for school age sibling groups. Foster Carers are provided with a comprehensive package of full training, the potential to earn up to £500 per week per child, plus generous additional allowances for special occasions such as annual holidays, Christmas and Birthdays per child. Merton’s dedicated fostering recruitment and support teams ensure that carers are valued and are well supported by a dedicated social worker, a 24-hour free helpline and a buddy scheme to allow newly approved foster carers the opportunity to shadow more experienced carers. There is an active foster carer association which allows carers to meet together and share experiences, as well as supporting each other.
Ruth aged 53, began as a Merton Foster Carer seven years ago. Over that period, she has taken care of mainly siblings. Ruth said, “Having grown up children of my own, once they had moved out to go to university I felt there was something missing in my life. I had wanted to foster when I was younger following on from charity work I used to do, but then I decided to wait until my own children were older so I could focus fully on the foster children when my own children had gone on to university.”
Ruth added, “The children always come away with positive changes by the end of their time with me. They have been able to continue at their schools and often during their stay with me, they will continue to see their birth parents on a regular basis. I feel glad that I’ve done my bit to ensure there is some continuity in their lives – it is gratifying given the huge changes the children have had to deal with through a difficult time in their lives.”
Merton Council’s Acting Director of Children, Schools and Families, Paul Angeli said: “We urge anyone considering fostering to contact us to help provide the opportunity of a happy family life to all our children and young people across the borough regardless of the circumstances they have experienced in their family life.”
Anyone can be a foster carer provided they are aged 21 or older, have experience with children/young people, a spare bedroom and enough time, patience, resilience and understanding to take on the role. Ideally they would also need to have access to practical help and emotional support from family members or their community.
Applications are welcomed from people from all backgrounds, regardless of whether you have your own children, from any educational background, ethnicity or religion, marital status or sexual orientation. Foster carers can own their own home or live in rented accommodation, work part-time or be in receipt of benefits and still be eligible to become a foster carer. It is possible to foster a child for as short a period as one night or for as long as several years.
For more information about fostering a child call: 0800 073 0874 or 020 8545 4070 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. There are regular fostering information evenings at Morden Baptist Church, Crown Lane, Morden – the next one being on Wednesday 11 April at 10.30am.