Fostering as a career
There are real opportunities for you to consider becoming a foster carer for us in South Tyneside.
In South Tyneside there are some 300 children and young people in care at any one time.
The majority of these children and young people have a positive future ahead of them, but for some, their situation means that they need specialist care to help them through a challenging part of their lives.
These are often young people with a great deal of potential, yet find themselves in difficult situations because of their circumstances. These young people need positive role models, someone who can mentor them and show them how they can move on and strive to reach their full potential.
There are many reasons why children and young people come into the Looked After System, it may be due to illness in the family, neglect or some form of abuse. Foster carers will have close contact with the child's social worker who will work with the child's birth family to hopefully resolve family issues so that they can return home as quickly as possible.
We urgently need carers who feel they could offer support and guidance to a young person who needs someone they can trust, learn from and really make a difference to their lives.
We need to dispel the myth that you have to stay at home to care for a child or young person. Many of our carers work full-time or indeed choose to make a career out of fostering.
The Fostering Service welcomes gay, lesbian and trans gendered applicants.
The Fostering Service welcomes enquiries from people whose first language is not English.
Prospective applicants will be advised not to pursue an application where they have recently faced significant challenges within their family, such as newly formed partnerships or reconstituted families, serious illness, pregnancy, separation or bereavement. Issues relating to historical or current legal proceedings for example in relation to offences or financial concerns will be considered on an individual basis.
Below are some of the many ways you can make a difference.
Mainstream is a term used to describe volunteer carers. These carers do not receive a salary, although they do receive a basic weekly fee per household per week plus allowances for each child in their care based on their age. Mainstream foster carers can look after children on a short or long-term basis.
Short-term fostering is when you provide care for children on a short-term basis, this could be anything from one night or a few months until family difficulties can be resolved.
Long-term fostering is when you care for a child for longer periods, often years, for children who need long-term placements and are unable to live with their birth parents. Many still benefit from regular contact with their families.
Respite foster care
Some people choose to foster part-time if work or family circumstances mean they cannot make a full-time commitment, or if they want to take the first steps to experience what fostering is like. As a part-time foster carer, you may look after children while other carers are on holiday or need a break, or offer respite for families who are in crisis to give parents a break. Part-time fostering can be for planned weekends or school holidays and can fit around your own personal circumstances.
As with mainstream fostering, you receive a weekly allowance, pro-rata, whilst you are caring for a child, plus allowances for that child or young person. Many people who foster part-time go onto mainstream fostering or even fostering as a career.
Short break or respite foster care is when support is given to children with disabilities and their families.
Our Children and Adults With Disabilities Service works closely with our Fostering Service to provide access to carers who are able to provide short breaks to children and young people. This could be anything from a few hours a week to a few days per month.
The children and young people who receive this service may have a physical disability, a learning difficulty or sensory impairment. The care they receive helps the children and young people experience different things and give their families a valuable break to re-charge their batteries or spend time with other siblings.
Young Futures Carers
Many people choose foster caring as a career. This is when the foster carer receives an enhanced fee, in addition to allowances to help them care for a child or young person.
Foster placements for parent and baby
In South Tyneside it is our priority to try, where possible, to keep families together and we have this same priority for a young person who find themselves pregnant and confused about their circumstances.
These young people need someone who can help take them through the stresses and strains of expecting a child, and guide and support them into young parenthood.
Placing a young parent into foster care enables them to become part of a family unit and gain the confidence to be able to cope with their situation and have a positive attitude towards parenthood. This also gives the baby the best start in life too.
Some parents may move onto supported accommodation or independent living shortly after the birth or stay in their foster home, but whatever the circumstances, fostering can help transform the lives of young parents and their babies.
"I got through it because of someone special... my foster mum, she's given me and my baby the best possible start"
Foster placements for young people on remand
When young people lose their way, they sometimes need time out away from their families and friends who may be having a negative impact on their life choices.
Some young people get into trouble with the law and end up being placed on remand but are unable to return home.
Fostering can play a vital role in helping young people back on track through them feeling part of a home environment and having someone to focus on them and offer guidance.
"I was bored and got in with the wrong crowd, my foster carer took me to football and helped me with school work"
Specialist training and support
All of our foster carers receive preparation training before they are assessed to become a foster carer.
In addition to this you would receive support and be expected to attend training specifically designed to help you build on your own skills to support these young people. Our team is always there to offer guidance where you need it.
Could you be a positive role model?
We are a dedicated, committed and friendly team with many years of fostering experience and are always happy to talk to anyone who is interested in fostering.
We would love to hear from you if you feel you could support a young person through these particularly difficult circumstances.
Take the first step to fostering
Find out more by ringing 0191 4238500 and we will send you a full information pack.
The Fostering Service runs monthly information evenings to provide further information and to answer any questions you may have.
You do not have to make any commitment at this stage, if you decide not to take your interest any further after talking it through with us, that's fine. We are here to help you decide if fostering is for you.
We have a team of highly trained and committed people who you can talk to informally or arrange a home visit. Contact us and we can take you through the options best suited to your circumstances
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