Foster care pop-up information sessions

Councillor Tom Weatherston
Councillor Tom Weatherston

Scottish Borders Council is holding a pop-up shop during Foster Care Fortnight (May 13-26) for people interested in fostering to get the chance to find out more about it.

Staff and current foster carers will be at drop-in sessions at 50 Channel Street, Galashiels from 10am-4pm for the two weeks of the campaign (Monday to Friday, excluding Tuesdays). SBC is looking for foster carers to care for children and young people aged between 0–21.

The council is particularly keen to hear from people interested in caring for adolescents as they have a number of teenagers in urgent need of a family placement.

They are also looking for short breaks carers to provide respite for children with complex needs and disabilities. This involves weekend breaks and short term periods of respite care for children who live at home with their parents.

Councillor Tom Weatherston, SBC’s executive member for children and families social work, said: “The focus for this year’s Foster Care Fortnight is the way in which foster care can, and does, change futures - the futures of fostered children and young people, and also the futures of the foster families who care for them.

“All children in care need a family they can grow up with who can love them, be ambitious for them and help them achieve their potential. Becoming a foster carer is an opportunity to provide the stable family environment that really could help change the future for a child or young person who is going through a difficult life experience, and we would encourage anyone who would be interested in being part of that change to get in touch.

“The pop-up shop is an excellent way of finding out more and asking any questions you might have.

“With both staff and existing foster carers present, you will have the chance to hear both sides of the story. Staff can explain about all the benefits of working with our Family Placement Team, including the payments and allowances that you will be entitled to and details of the training and support that is provided. Carers can tell you what motivated them to take up fostering and why they wouldn’t do anything else, giving you a real sense of what it is like to foster on a day to day basis with all the challenges and rewards that caring for a child or young person can bring.

“If you are unable to make it to Galashiels, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone at a time that suits you and speak to the team as enquiries are always welcome.”

Foster carers come from all walks of life and may be single or in an enduring partnership. They need to have had experience of looking after or working with children and are able to provide positive parenting with patience and understanding. This will include a genuine interest in children and young people and having an enjoyment of their company. Being patient and having the ability to listen, understand and communicate with young people is also important. Many of our foster carers have had previous careers in child or social care, for example, while others have child care experience with children in their own families and communities.

SBC foster carers are given full training and have access to a team of specialist social workers who are on hand to provide support. They are also paid an allowance to cover costs, a weekly fee and receive a retainer for up to eight weeks when they are without a placement. They need to be in reasonable health and in settled circumstances. Thorough checks are undertaken and a full assessment as to their suitability is carried out, including a preparatory training course.

If you believe that you’ve got the skills and dedication needed to give a child a loving home with the life-changing opportunities that this could bring, now is the time to find out more about fostering. If you can’t make it to one of the drop-in sessions, you can contact the Family Placement Team directly on 01896 662799. More information is also available on the council’s website: www.scotborders.gov.uk/fostering