West Sussex County Council is looking for more people to come forward and consider fostering.
To help people find out more about what it means to foster, a special drop-in, information event is being held at Worthing Library – in Richmond Road, Worthing, BN11 1HD – on Tuesday June 30th between 10.00 am and 2.00 pm.
Julie, from the Worthing area, has been fostering for 17 years and has during that time has taken care of children of all ages, including teenagers. She currently specialises in looking after children with special needs.
She said: “If someone had asked me years ago ‘would you like to look after children with additional needs?’ I would have run for the hills – looking after children can be hard enough.
“But actually it’s incredibly rewarding and I get so much more out of looking after children who have additional needs. I really enjoy it.”
Foster carers come from all works of life but they offer a vulnerable child or young person a safe and stable home.
Fostering can be either short or long-term and can range from just a few days to several years. There are also several different types of fostering.
The County Council is particularly looking for people who are able to offer homes to older children and teenagers, or siblings.
Peter Evans, the County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children – Start of Life, added: “We are always looking for more people to foster in West Sussex to help ensure we can find the right home and family for children and teenagers who are in our care.
“We look to try to match their needs to the skills that each carer may bring – and every foster carer that comes forward has something different to offer.
“We need people who can make a long lasting, positive difference by offering vulnerable children and teenagers the stability, security and love they so need.
“It is challenging and deciding to foster isn’t a decision to be taken likely – but it is incredibly rewarding.”
Julie added: “You’ll get a child come to you and it could be that their whole world has changed within the space of a few hours.
“They’ve come into a new family, they’ve never met you before and at first they won’t speak to you. They could be in their room, crying.
“But gradually you’ll build up trust with them until one day, you’ll pick them up from school – maybe they’ve scored a goal in football – and they are smiling from ear to ear.
“You realise that you’ve had something to do with that and it’s such an amazing feeling. It makes it all worthwhile.”
Find out more about fostering at www.westsussex.gov.uk/fostering, call 0330 222 7775 or text ‘FOSTER’ to 82228 to receive a call back.