Did you know almost a quarter of children needing loving foster families are from black and minority ethnic backgrounds? These children benefit hugely from being fostered with families who share similar backgrounds, so this week our campaign is focussing on raising awareness of our need for more BME foster carers.
We've been talking to Kami who has been fostering for eight years now. Kami is African Caribbean and sees herself as a full time, professional and loving mum who has the most rewarding job in the world!
Kami told us: "I have always enjoyed having children in my life and dreamed of having a big family. We were blessed with our son which gave me the skills and expertise to be a mummy, and I wanted to help children in need and make a difference to their lives. I was doing voluntary work with children and when my son started secondary school, I decided to look into fostering. I felt the time was right and contacted the council for more information, I knew I could do it!
Understanding the needs of our foster children
"We've got two girls living with us at the moment, one 13 and one 11, both with African heritage. We're fostering them on a long term basis and living with us is showing them what family life is really like. Their ethnicity is an important part of their identity and we are helping them learn about and understand their history and culture. They love helping me make traditional African food, I really enjoying teaching them, and it's great that we understand their needs as they are growing up, such as products for their skin and oil for their hair.
"We have built up strong relationships with them and are always there for them. They know they can talk to us and we'll support them through the tough times. It's great seeing them develop emotionally, socially and educationally, and grow into confident young girls.
So much to learn
"As a foster carer there's so much to learn, each child is different and has their own needs. To begin with, it can be hard for them to adjust, and it can take a long time for them to settle into your home, but once you have given them support and attention, they soon adjust and the experience is very rewarding.
"You have to deal with challenging behaviours, attachment issues and some tough situations, but you learn to see beyond this and understand why the child is behaving that way. All their life they have felt rejected and they find it difficult to trust people. You have to take control of the situation and set the boundaries they need to help them manage their behaviour - you can't give up on them.
"The training and support from Northamptonshire County Council has given us is brilliant. We have built up knowledge and skills from the different training courses we've been on, which subsequently benefit and support the children we care for.
"There is always someone we can turn to for support if we need it. As a foster carer you have a dedicated social worker who can give really good advice, help and support when needed, and we have found this to be invaluable. We have also built up a strong network of friends who are foster carers and we help each other out and talk things through.
"For anyone who is considering fostering, I would say to make sure the time is right for them and give it a go. People will be surprised to see what they are made of! They must make sure they have time to dedicate to a child and an open mind to provide the life children deserve whatever their background. There are so many children out there who need help and support right now, don't put it off any longer!"
How we'll support you in your foster carer role
Northamptonshire County Council provides preparation training for foster carers to help get you ready for the role, and offers lots of different training courses tailored to different needs.
You'll have a dedicated social worker who will help you with advice and information at every stage, and will put you in touch with other foster carers in your area to help you build a strong support network.
We will also pay you a weekly allowance which is higher than the government recommended rates.
Get in touch today
We'd love to talk to you if you want to know more, you can get in touch by: