22 March 2017
Council launches three year strategy to recruit more foster carers
Shetland Islands Council today launched a three-year campaign to raise awareness of the need for more foster carers in Shetland, to provide nurturing homes for vulnerable children and young people.
The campaign aims to reach out to a range of potential foster carers and highlights that many people can be considered for foster caring, whether they are single, married, working full time or part time, a homeowner or renting their property. The campaign will have a particular focus on recruiting foster carers for children aged 12 years and up although applications will be welcomed for all ages.
The Council has foster carers who provide emergency, short term and longer term care for Shetland’s vulnerable children and young people. Prospective foster carers will receive training and support from the Council’s family placement team to develop a range of skills and qualities including patience, the ability to listen, how to advocate on behalf of a child, and much more besides.
Foster families perform an invaluable duty on behalf of the Shetland community. The fostering task contributes not only to society now, but into the future as the young people who live in their care grow into adulthood. Foster families give children the opportunity of the childhood that they deserve, a childhood that otherwise they may not have had.
Nationally, the number of children requiring foster care continues to grow and Shetland has seen increased demand for foster care places. As the only local fostering agency, the Council has sought to recruit foster carers in recent years to address the local shortage, which has been highlighted during previous Children’s Services inspections.
In order to help attract more people to foster from April 2017 Shetland Islands Council will offer a sliding scale of foster care fees up to £29,014. The fee paid will depend on the carer’s level of experience and qualifications, and whether they choose to have other paid work. Allowances will also be paid on top of these fees, to cover the costs associated with caring for each child or young person, for items such as clothing, food, household expenses, day-today living costs and social activities.
Jillian Copland (foster carer) said, “I had thought about fostering for many years and admired others who provided this care locally. When I started a career as a teacher I became increasingly aware of young children who required additional care outside the parental home for a whole spectrum of reasons – not always ‘bad’ as is perhaps the assumption in society. I have had a number of fostering placements with different young people and you have to be adaptable to their needs. Placements can be tiring, as you may be needed pretty much 24/7 but each is unique, enjoyable, rewarding, challenging to a degree and extremely worthwhile.”
More information about fostering caring options in Shetland can be found at: www.shetland.gov.uk/childrens_resources/fostering.asp or text FOSTERING to 66777