01 September 2010

Northamptonshire County Council is appealing for people who can foster vulnerable babies and toddlers.

Between April and August, more than 50 children aged from birth to three were taken into care, all in need of a short-term foster homes.

The county council wants to recruit up to ten short-term foster carers who can look after children from newborn infants up to the age of three.

Cabinet member for children and young people Cllr Andrew Grant said: “We routinely use short-term placements when we need to react quickly to specific circumstances. Because of the nature of these placements, we need to have a pool of carers that we can contact at any given time.

“Ideally, we’d like to recruit up to ten carers who care deeply about the welfare of children at risk and would be prepared to care for a child at short notice.

“Whether it’s caring for a child for a number of weeks or up to a number of years, short term carers are crucial in making sure a child has a safe, secure and caring environment during an unsettled period in their lives.”

Babies and toddlers are taken into short-tem care for a variety of reasons including;

  • babies born to parents whose previous children have been removed for child protection reasons
  • parents unable to parent because of drug/alcohol related issues
  • babies or toddlers who have been placed for adoption with parental consent

Short-term foster care can be very exciting for those families who enjoy a challenge. Children usually go initially to short term foster carers while decisions are being made about their future. Children will often arrive during a crisis and may be tired, frightened and hungry and will need a lot of care and attention to help them settle down. They may end up staying for just a few days, several months or even years.

Part of the task of a short-term foster carer is likely to involve working closely with the child’s birth parents perhaps to enable them to be more confident and successful in looking after their children.

Once decisions have been made about the children’s future, short-term foster carers have a vital role in preparing them for a move, whether it is back to their parents or on to a long term foster family or adoptive home. Saying goodbye can be both sad and yet satisfying, knowing you have helped a child through a difficult time in their life.

A career in fostering can offer benefits such as flexible working, a structured career path, training and a financial allowance.

Carers need to be home full-time, have a spare bedroom, not smoke but most importantly have time, energy, commitment and enjoy having children in their lives.

For more information call 0300 126 1009 or email a&f@northamptonshire.gov.uk or visit www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/adoptionfostering

Alternatively you can come along to one of our open evenings to find out more. The next one is on Wednesday 8th September at Britannia House, Bedford Road, Northampton, NN4 7PD. It is an informal evening to find out more about fostering with the opportunity to speak to current foster carers and social workers from the team. If you are interested please come along at anytime between 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.