Foster a child in 2019

Published: 02 Jan 2019


Hertfordshire County Council is urging anyone who has a spare room and the desire to help a child or young person realise their true potential, to consider whether fostering might be the way to fill the extra space in their homes and in their hearts.

Hertfordshire Fostering Service urgently needs foster carers who are able to give their support & guidance to make a difference to the life of a child. Foster care offers the flexibility of working from home or the option of combining fostering with other work, depending on the age and needs of the children. There are different types of fostering and applicants are supported to choose the route which is right for them and their family. For example, a number of carers who have full-time work commitments are able to make a difference by providing ‘sleepover’ or respite fostering placements at weekends or holidays.

Anne Beard and Peter Miller in Stevenage started fostering in 2018; they cared for two sisters aged eleven and twelve years, initially on a respite basis for 2 weeks. Peter Miller, who works as a Research Scientist, said: “We first discussed fostering 12 years ago, but where we were renting before, the landlord would not let us use the extra rooms for fostering children. Now we are in a three bedroom house the landlord agreed this time. To see the change in children in care is so rewarding. Every foster carer we have met says it’s the most rewarding job ever.”

Anne Beard, who previously worked as a florist, said: “Whether a child stays a week or a month, if we make a difference to a life then we have done right. It’s so rewarding to see that we have made a difference. With the two sisters, there were no hugs in the first week, they seemed quiet and shy. However, in the second week we saw a change and they became more comfortable and relaxed. We felt we were able to gain their trust through listening to them and recognising what their needs were”. Peter added, “In my birthday card, the sisters said ‘love you like jelly tots’ which touched me”.

Anne continued, “We have got the room, the time, a nice home and the right attitude and temperament to foster. It’s hard being a teenager but we know that they just need nurturing to grow, to find their feet and become individuals”. Anne added, “We have enjoyed our journey to become foster carers. We’ve made new friends and connections and this has enhanced the experience.”

Peter said to anyone thinking about fostering: “Go for it. You will be supported and given training to help you develop your skills to foster.” He spoke about the assessment & preparation, saying, “the process was in-depth and thorough; however we recognise this is vital as it’s important to ensure vulnerable children are being placed in safe homes”. He went on to say, “Our social worker has been very supportive. Help is just an email or telephone call away. There is also the support from other foster carers who understand issues such as confidentiality”.

Anne and Peter started their fostering journey by attending an Open Evening last year. Hertfordshire County Council is encouraging anyone interested in fostering to attend their next open evening, where there will be presentations from foster carers and care-leavers, as well as an opportunity to ask any questions you may have. The event is on Wednesday 23rd January 2019 from 6.30-9pm at the Beales Hotel Hatfield, AL10 9NG. There is no need to book.

Teresa Heritage, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “If any individuals or families in Hertfordshire are interested in fostering and can offer a safe and loving home and a positive experience of family life to children in care, we would love to hear from them. Fostering is a great way to give back to your local community and make a huge difference to the lives of children who most need it.”

Anyone who fosters with Hertfordshire County Council can expect unrivalled support & training, which guides new foster carers through the process, every step of the way.

For more information visit www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/fostering or call the recruitment team on 0800 917 0925.

Ends