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What We’ve Learned and Why We Need Foster Carers

Now that we’re in the swing of things in 2015, we hope to point out how important it is for us to recruit foster carers this year. We intend to see as many vulnerable children taken into care as possible – but there is still plenty to be done with that in mind. So it made sense for us to look back at some discussions from 2014, and see what we can take forward to make this year even better than the last.

The Numbers

Unfortunately, the problem does come down to numbers: there’s a glaring shortage of carers nationwide, with demand easily dwarfing supply. This means there is an urgent need for almost 9,000 foster carers if we, as a nation, are going to properly care for every child in need.

The figures break down as follows:

  • England needs to add over 7,300 more foster families
  • Scotland is short of 850 families
  • 600 are needed in Wales
  • while Northern Ireland is short of 200

Flexibility is Needed

In light of the numbers, having more potential foster carers on call is an important step closer to having flexibility regarding not only placements, as well as greater placement stability for the children concerned.

We’ve previously looked at why multiple placement options are an ideal approach when making arrangements for foster children. As much as possible, this kind of contingency would be ideal in case a placement goes wrong. In spite of the best efforts of any fostering agency, placements occasionally don’t work out.

The Crucial Chance

You could be the adult or role model in their life to make all the difference to their future!

We’ve previously highlighted how vulnerable young foster children have come a very long way, and without fail, their foster parents played a pivotal role in each case. As examples, just take Declan Rose, a documentary filmmaker focusing on fostering, and the inspiring story of Doreen Beattie – Cumbria’s Woman of the Year for her incredible record as a carer.

What have we missed out? Are there any lessons you think we should really be taking forward?

If you’ve been inspired, tell us! No matter if you’ve read widely or are just embarking on a foster journey of your own, find out about some more amazing people we’ve worked with, or get in touch with us directly.

A foster carer has been remembered in the Nottingham Post for her incredible service to children in care. After several decades spent with more than 60 foster children under her wing, Peggy Parker is honoured by her daughters – two of whom were foster children of hers and later became full family members.

Tributes have been pouring in for Peggy, who was a “loving and caring” foster carer for dozens of children in the Nottingham area. She lived in variously in St Ann’s, Netherfield and Gedling with her husband over a period of 30 years, in which time they excelled in providing stability and safety for vulnerable children.

Her only child, Margaret, describes Peggy’s dedication to giving youngsters a home: “I remember the first child she fostered was a little girl who was originally from Clifton … she was about two years old.” Her daughter continues: on top of caring for her own child, Peggy “fostered quite a few brothers and sisters, but the most she had at a time was probably three … I always wondered how she could do it. Most of the children had been neglected and were very vulnerable.”

Margaret admits that her mum “sometimes used to get upset when they had to be taken away again, but she seemed to take everything in her stride.”

The article also describes how sisters Carole and Susan, whom Peggy fostered together, never left after arriving at just nine and 11 respectively. They’ve been welcome additions to their family in the 43 years since, and Carole sums up their story nicely: “I don’t know where Susan and I would have been … it certainly couldn’t have been any better than we had. Peggy was a very caring mum to us and gave up a lot to look after us.”

Susan goes on to add: “she brought us up well. She never treated us any differently to her own daughter – we were like her own”

At Perpetual Fostering we’d also like to celebrate the memory of Peggy and her foster caring career. We’re constantly amazed by the extraordinary people who choose to foster, and have an immeasurable impact on their community in the process. Get in touch with us today to find out how you can transform the lives of vulnerable children for the better, or read some of the stories of our valued carers.