Among the praise for key workers, there is an important, sometimes invisible group at the heart of our community doing an incredible job. Foster carers are providing a high level of care and emotional support to young people.
As well as caring for their own children and managing their careers, foster carers are going above and beyond to integrate these young people into their families to ensure they feel safe and cared for.
In these unprecedented times, our foster carers are not only ‘carers’ but also teachers, entertainers, counsellors and therapists.
Debbie Price, children in care service manager at the Isle of Wight Council, said: “We think they are doing an amazing job and we are so proud of them, and all the children who are managing so well.”
Members of the Isle of Wight Fostering team have been volunteering their time outside of work hours to support foster families. A direct support line has been extended into the evenings and weekends for carers who need a listening ear.
Debbie explained: “We pride ourselves on good relations with our foster families; through staying connected, we know our carers, we know our children, their needs and we respond to these. Now more than ever, the service is led by our foster families and looked after children. Social workers and practitioners are actively working to provide continued support — from home schooling, activity planning, behaviour management to supporting mental well-being.
Although in lockdown, Isle of Wight Fostering are running a normal service and continues to recruit carers to its growing fostering community. This week, the service welcomed two new foster families and social workers continue to process applications and assessments, carrying out all home visits virtually.
Debbie added: “The need for foster carers remains high during the coronavirus pandemic. Children who are unable to live with their birth families are still in need of a place of safety, stability and support. As adults, it is taking us some time to adjust to new routines and ways of working, but for children this can be even more confusing.”
Has the lockdown made you view things differently? Is fostering something you have always wanted to do? Could you consider joining our growing community of local authority foster carers?
Isle of Wight Fostering provide specialist training, professional support and generous allowances.
Enquire into fostering with the Isle of Wight Council at www.iow.gov/Fostering or speak with a member of the team on (01983) 823160.