Make a difference, foster a child in 2018

Published: 19 Jan 2018


Get the New Year off to a great start and help a young person realise their true potential.

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

Now that the last of the mince pies have been eaten and the tree has been taken down, it’s time to focus on a new year full of possibilities. Why not make a commitment to make a difference to the life of a child who needs your love, support and guidance?

In Hertfordshire there are over 919 children and young people in care and many live with Hertfordshire’s foster carers. Each month, we receive an average of 55 requests for new foster placements, with more requests to place children over the age of 10 years, sibling groups and those with more complex needs.

Fostering can be personally rewarding for someone who wants to make a difference to children’s lives. It offers the flexibility of working from home, perhaps while caring for your own children, or to combine fostering and other work, depending on the age and needs of the children in your care. There are many different types of fostering and foster carers can choose what is right for them and their family.

Dawn and Alan Ashworth are foster carers who are currently looking after a brother and sister, aged six and eight years. Alan, who worked as a legal professional for 25 years prior to becoming a foster carer, said, “We had thought about fostering for some years, but never pursued it because we felt we didn't have time or the space. When I retired early, we both wanted to do something new and decided to seriously pursue fostering. Our children at the time were aged 14 and 17; they were both involved in the discussions and process and were supportive.”

Dawn, who previously worked as a junior school teaching assistant, added: “The chance to show children that adults do care and can be relied upon is such a privilege and when the days, weeks, months or years of patient and consistent role modelling is accepted by the child, it gives one a great sense of achievement and a determination to continue”.

“The support available from Herts County Council is superb. Whether you need help from your own dedicated social worker about a worry or concern, or need support for more serious issues from external professionals, all concerns are dealt with both sensitively and promptly.”

Alan agreed saying:” If you have thought about fostering, either to add to your family or as a career change for all or some of your family, don’t hesitate to speak to their friendly team. Before you disqualify yourself, make the initial contact and talk to the people that know and can answer any questions you may have.”

Many people look for a change in direction at this time of the year and fostering can offer the satisfaction of knowing you have had a remarkable impact on a child or young person.

Teresa Heritage, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “The new year is often a time of reflection and can provide a fresh start by offering a new beginning to a child or young person who needs your support.”

“It is our aim in Hertfordshire to ensure that everyone gets the best possible start in life and we need our residents to help us transform the lives of children and young people. 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, guiding new foster carers through the process, every step of the way. For more information visit www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/somethingmissing or www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/fostering or call our friendly recruitment team on 0800 917 0925.