Letter: More foster carers needed

Fostering makes a huge and positive difference to the lives of so many children and young people. It is also a highly rewarding experience for the foster carers.

Some readers may have thought about fostering but might not know how to start. Others may have concerns that might prove unfounded once they are given the information they need.

West Sussex County Council urgently needs to recruit more foster carers. This is to make sure the county maintains the broad range of experience and skills it requires to meet the needs of our looked after children.

Children come into care for a number of reasons including family illness or because they have been abused or neglected. Fostering can be both short or long term and can range from just a few days to several years.

Fostering provides children with a loving family home while their problems are dealt with. The council does its utmost to match foster carers in the county with West Sussex children best suited to them.

Children and young people thrive on familiarity so we try to keep them close to their school, friends, people and places they know. At the same time we make sure our carers receive all the training and support they need.

Foster carers come from all walks of life and from a range of cultural and ethnic backgrounds. You can apply to foster regardless of your marital status or sexuality.

We don’t just need people to be good parents, we’re looking for people who are patient, energetic, with a good sense of humour and who will treat children and young people as individuals.

During Foster Care Fortnight (14 - 27 May) we are holding two informal drop-in sessions at Crawley Library on Saturday 19 May and at Chichester Library on Tuesday 22 May, both from 10am to 4pm, where there will be a chance to ask questions to existing foster carers and our recruitment team.

I would strongly urge any readers who have thought about fostering to get in touch with us by calling 01403 229333 or visiting www.westsussex.gov.uk/fostering. They could make a big difference to the children in need of care and at the same time enrich their own lives.

Peter Evans

Cabinet Member for Children and Families

Lead Member for Children’s Services

West Sussex County Council