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Fostering In The North West: 1,300 Foster Families Needed In 2016

Wouldn’t you like to change the life of a child? According to The Fostering Network, an extra 1,300 foster families are needed in the North West to help provide some of society’s most vulnerable and susceptible young people with a warm, safe and secure environment.

It’s within such loving and caring environments where the real magic of fostering happens. We see fantastic and highly trained foster families giving up their time to support and encourage the development of previously shy and hesitant young people. As a result of such care, foster children quickly flourish in terms of independence, confidence and self-assurance.

The UK’s leading fostering charity also highlighted the ‘urgent and ongoing need to attract more foster carers in the North West that are willing to provide homes for teenagers, disabled children, asylum seeking children and sibling groups’.

Much like society in the UK, the fostering landscape is extremely diverse too. It’s certainly part of the reason why at Perpetual Fostering we welcome and support all applications to become a foster carer, regardless of a person’s background, religion or sexual orientation.

For example, the children’s charity, Barnardo’s, recently wanted to raise awareness of Asian families who were interested in fostering in Manchester. An article in the Manchester Evening News claimed that only 4% of the city’s foster carers were from an Asian background, although 14% of people in Manchester are Asian.

Ultimately, the whole fostering community is very welcoming of anybody willing to help make a difference to a young person’s life.

Kevin Williams, The Fostering Network’s chief executive, took time out to praise the tireless work being performed by foster families up and down the land by claiming ‘fostering families perform an invaluable duty, one that really serves the whole community’.

He continued by suggesting, ‘their work not only contributes to today’s society, but in decades to come, as children in the care of foster families become positive adults and give back to society’.

This is certainly a view that we echo here at Perpetual Fostering, and is also part of the reason why we’ll always do our utmost provide our community of foster carers here in the North West and West Midlands with all the advice, care and training they require.

It doesn’t even matter whether you’re fostering for the first time or you’ve had decades of experience, we’re here for you 24/7.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re based in Lancashire, Merseyside, Manchester or Cheshire, if you think you have what it takes to become a foster carer, please don’t hesitate in contacting one of our experienced social workers today for more information.

Having a giant heart, a broad-minded attitude and the desire to make even the tiniest of improvements to a child’s life is really all you need to begin your financially rewarding and hugely uplifting fostering journey.

Well, what if you just don’t feel ‘ready’ to become a foster carer yet, or you don’t have enough knowledge of how fostering works?

It’s perfectly natural for you to think along these lines, and we regularly meet a lot of fantastic people that are willing to open up their home to share a life with a foster child, but still have a niggle of doubt and uncertainty about the whole thing.

Under the correct supervision and guidance from our dedicated team of social workers, we can quickly turn a willing, yet apprehensive individual into a self-assured foster carer, regardless of their previous experience.

In addition to right the training and support, clear and obvious changes that can be seen within the demeanour of a foster child can be a great confidence booster for any foster parent.

Those families that favour fostering older children tend to see these noticeable changes much sooner than they would within foster younger children.

Although older children are seen to be less dependent on physical adult parenting, they do require a lot more encouragement and stimulation to keep them on the right tracks throughout their teenage years.

So, improvements in school reports and exam results, as well as their general interaction around the home and local community are just few of those unmistakable signs to become aware of.

Older foster children are in need of the right support & understanding

Whether you’ve been brought up in the foster care system or not, teenagers are often busy being teenagers, and we’ve all been in that position in life where the raging hormones are slowly taking over with nobody being able to understand just how we feel.

Therefore, it’s critical that older foster children are not only provided with a loving and caring foster family, but also clear direction, consistency and reliability to encourage their transition from unsure teenagers to active and healthy young adults.

As a fostering community, we’re well aware of the need to attract more compassionate and warm-hearted individuals to become foster parents, and this especially true when it comes to fostering older children.

Maybe it’s the whole teenager thing that puts people off, or the thought that older foster children have much more emotional ‘history’ attached to them.

Either way, children of this age do require the right understanding, support and direction to overcome these natural age related issues, as well as the opportunity to learn important practical and emotional skills needed for later life.

How about helping them to make their first cooked breakfast for the rest of the family, or allowing them to manage their own pocket money for the first time? These are just two examples of promoting independence amongst older foster children and to provide them with a suitable taste of adult life.

In fact, we often find that fostering older children can actually be a lot more straightforward than fostering children of a younger age, as the difference that you can make to their life is certainly more obvious and clear to see, due to that extra bit of independence they already have.

At Perpetual Fostering, we know that all foster children require foster families that can listen, understand and provide them with care and security that acts as the perfect stepping stone for success in later life.

Regardless of your fostering experience, we’re here to provide our foster carers with the right advice, information and encouragement, wherever and whenever it is needed. Can you make the difference to a child’s life and become a foster carer? Get in touch with our head office today…You’ll be glad that did.

Fostering is all about the levels of care, love and attention that an individual can provide to a child, rather being about their age, gender or sexual orientation. On the other hand, we understand that there are many myths, questions and misunderstandings surrounding just who can and who can’t become a foster parent.

In the first part of our short series, we aim to dispel the myths around single male foster carers, who are still a largely underrepresented within the fostering community.

For anybody who has embarked on a fostering journey, you’ll know how rewarding and positive this experience can be for you, your family and the future of a foster child.

Over the past few years, we have found that attitudes towards men and childcare have changed dramatically. In fact, it is estimated that over 80% of fostering households in the UK feature male involvement, however, nearly a fifth of males, especially those who are single, still feel that they’re unable to become a foster parent.

Although It is apparent that very few barriers actually exist for anybody wanting to become a foster parent, we still find that single males are extremely underrepresented as foster carers.

Here at Perpetual Fostering, we are incredibly proud to be at the forefront of the fostering industry, as we’re immensely supportive of all foster carer applications, regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation or circumstances.

There is no doubt that single male foster carers can still provide a foster child with the the same high level of love, care and affection than those who are represented much more within the fostering community.

Male foster carers can improve previous relationships

Without being too overly critical of the reasons why children end up in the arms of loving and caring foster parents, we do find that a lack of a consistent and healthy adult male role model can be a common factor.

Ultimately, male foster carers, whether single, married or widowed, have the capability to help overcome any potential negativity that a foster child may be suffering from by providing a relationship that is warm, reliable, trustworthy and constructive.

We also find that males who have become part of a fostering family have been successful in changing the perception of the male role in domestic life, so all that cooking, cleaning and washing up does finally pay off.

At Perpetual Fostering we know that a male foster carer’s role, whether a single or married parent, is not one that is on the peripheries of a child’s needs, but a role that is central and pivotal in bringing about a happy and successful future for a foster child.

Whether you’re just starting to think about fostering for the first time, or maybe you’ve been doing it for years, our selection of trained social workers, together with our renowned fostering community, have been successful in providing first-class training, support and encouragement to all male and female foster parents, regardless of background or stage of the fostering journey.

So, if you’re a single male and actively interested in becoming a foster parent, then what are you waiting for? Apply online or speak to a member of our dedicated team today.

To become a foster carer, you’re not just revealing your heart and opening up your mind to help improve the quality of a child’s life, but you’re also opening up your home, as well as the lives of your closest friends and family too.

We understand that the decision to become a foster parent isn’t just a frivolous, split-second one that you think about briefly on the way to work one morning because you have a spare bedroom. Instead, the initial decision to even apply and register an interest should be seen as a journey in itself. Infact, It’s probably taken you weeks, months and even years just to get to that stage.

Although you’ll have to embark upon much other, smaller journeys on your way to becoming a foster carer, we see the decision to join the other 44,000 foster families currently in England as one of the biggest a person will ever undertake.

We will always provide rigorous training and support for our foster carers using our professionally trained team and extensive network of existing foster families before, during and after the application has been approved. However, it’s equally as important to understand some of the thoughts, feelings and emotions that brought you and many others like you to make this life-changing decision.

1. You’ve thought about it and done your research

For the most part, every potential foster carer that we’ve encountered has conducted plenty of research and given themselves enough time to think about everything there is to think about fostering. Knowing that each individual is different, there’s little surprise that we also stumble upon families who have tirelessly researched the topic of fostering, but are still in doubt whether to apply or not.

We strongly recommend that you become part of Perpetual Fostering’s increasingly popular fostering community and forum to help alleviate your doubt and to have any questions answered. Better still, you’re likely to meet current foster families who were once in a similar position to you.

Aside from emotional motivation, it’s important that all potential foster parents recognise the many practical and everyday issues that may arise as well. Therefore, thinking about how much time you’re willing to commit, what you would like to achieve by becoming a foster carer and whether or not an older or a younger foster child will be most suitable to your home environment and lifestyle is strongly advised.

2. You’ve gained plenty of experience

Obviously, it’s difficult to gain experience as a foster parent if you’re not yet a foster parent, but we’re talking about getting experience in other areas. Whether paid or voluntary, you could certainly gain vital experience babysitting, working as a childminder or helping out at your local school.

Although there is no real recommendation as to how many hours you need to acquire, it’s hoped that you’ll be able gain a better understanding of how children behave on a daily basis.

3. You’re doing it for the right reasons

Believe it or not, becoming a foster carer can be a financially rewarding prospect, and for many people this can be quite high on their list of reasons as to why they want to foster.

Rather than looking to provide companionship for yourself or your existing children, having an active desire to help improve a child’s life within a safe and stable environment, as well as providing them with an opportunity to develop and flourish as individuals should be amongst your main reasons.

4. You have a supportive network around you

Although we’re not talking about getting the window cleaner, postman and local butcher involved, ensuring that your closest friends and family are fully onboard with your decision is crucial.

To become a foster carer there’s no doubt that you’ll have to open up your heart, home and mind to social workers and children that you’ve never met before, so why not do the same with your nearest and dearest beforehand? Wash away any fears or doubts that you might have at this stage.

5. You’re able to let go and say goodbye

Without a doubt many people do get confused with the difference between fostering and adoption, and whilst we do offer long term foster care placements, the majority of fostering placements do involve the child leaving at some point.

Whether this is to go back to their natural birth parents or to another foster family, we understand that this often grief like feeling can be difficult to overcome.

Time is a great healer when it comes to waving goodbye a foster child, and although this does seem to get slightly easier as you gain further fostering experience, you should aim to remember the positive change that you helped bring about whilst the child was in your care.

Whilst there are many offer signs that existing that help individuals deter whether they’re ready to become a foster career, we feel that we have highlighted some of the most important. Whether you feel you’re at this stage or you require further information and advice about becoming a foster carer with Perpetual Fostering, make sure that you get in touch with our warm-welcoming, passionate and experienced team.

Nobody said fostering was all sunshine and rainbows, but you could be forgiven for thinking so when things start off so brightly. You bond with this adorable and polite young person by welcoming them into your home, but after the honeymoon period a new set of challenges may be unearthed.

Therefore, it’s important to understand that a foster child may not be used to such a change in circumstances, a life that suddenly feels easier, and at this point boundaries can often be tested.

Recent evidence suggests that 1/4 of foster children in the UK move homes at least once, sometimes as often as six times before settling. A shortage of foster carers makes it hard to find a perfect fit, but realistically, there’s no such thing.

Each fostering relationship comes with its own unique set of challenges, so what are the most common hurdles, and what can be done to overcome them?

(more…)

Could you be a foster care hero?

Do you think you possess the qualities needed to be a carer?

Are you patient? Motivated? Compassionate?

Keen to make a difference in a child or young person’s life?

If you’re interested and would like to know more about becoming a foster carer, join us for our coffee morning on Saturday 6th June, from 10am. This gathering will be an ideal opportunity for all those interested in foster caring to meet some of the Perpetual Fostering Team, talk to some current carers, and ask any questions about becoming a foster carer.

We’ll be meeting at Lostock Parish Church in Lancashire, and extend a warm welcome for all to join us. Come along anytime from 10am – 1pm, have a coffee and a chat with our team.

Whether you just have questions, have started an application, or are already a brand new carer, we’d love to meet with you and find out how we can help on your journey as a foster carer.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Lostock Parish Church, Tempest Road, Lostock, Lancashire BL6 4EL

We need you. Plain and simple.

If you’re already a carer or you’re thinking about becoming a foster carer, you’re in the right place. Whether you’ve been on this journey for a while, or if you’re just starting out, we’ll make sure that you have all the support you need, wherever and whenever you need it.

As an independent fostering agency, here at Perpetual Fostering we promote the provision of safe, stable placements – both short and long term – for children and young people.The journey to becoming a foster carer is a truly rewarding one and  we’ve simplified the steps to becoming a foster carer with step-by-step support and trusted, professional guidance. Although the process can be detailed and lengthy, you can rest assured knowing we’ll be with you every step of the way.

We’re here to help you succeed, be the best, and find joy in your new role as a foster carer. Let us support you through your journey of becoming a foster carer with our professional support, high quality training, and foster care community.

Whether your season as a foster carer is long or short, we believe in empowering you with valuable skills, knowledge, and experience so that you help make a difference to those who need it most. Foster carers are in great need here in the UK, especially in Lancashire, Cheshire, and Greater Manchester – we wholeheartedly believe in equipping you with all the skills and knowledge you need so that you can be the very best that you can be.

Start your fostering journey with Perpetual Fostering today. We care so that you can.

We hope everyone is off to a great start in 2015! Speaking of the brand new year ahead of us, full to the brim with possibilities, today we’re focusing on the importance of a New Year in the world of fostering.

The 1st of January is not only the beginning of a new calendar year, and a new diary: around the world it is symbolic. The fact that common themes crop up time and time again is no coincidence. Almost everywhere, a new year is viewed as:

• a time for setting things straight
• a thorough housecleaning
• paying off debts
• reflecting on one’s shortcomings
• mending quarrels with others

And these points, to varying degrees, apply to just about everyone. With this post, however, we’ll discuss how the New Year comes with added meaning for foster children.

A Season of Structure
A foster child shouldn’t find themselves facing the new year ahead of them as another set of 12 months – or another series of placements – to get through. It’s part of your role as a foster carer to encourage them to better themselves during your time together: through school, improving all aspects of their education, and encouraging positive self-esteem. Value your time together, and make it valuable.

The new year is also a new opportunity for you to update your placement records and keep them current, as they are supposed to be detailed documents of your time spent with your foster child.

A Season of Social Support
Showing your foster child due care, patience and a sense of humour is an important part of the picture, but certainly isn’t the whole of it. It’s crucial for them to build on and maintain their relationships outside of the home environment, regardless of how long they spend with you.

Think of it this way: you’ve offered them shelter, but shelter alone isn’t enough to fulfill one’s potential. You need to equip them with the skills and coping mechanisms to excel in life. If you don’t strive for this, who will?

At Perpetual Fostering we hope these serve as pointers for how to approach 2015: whether you’re embarking on a new journey with a foster child, or in the midst of a placement. If you are a carer, and find you need some advice or guidance for the year ahead, don’t hesitate to check how we support our foster carers, or reach out to us directly.

On the 9th December, the Sunderland Echo gave their spotlight to a married couple who have truly been a backbone to their community, providing shelter for more than 100 children during their selfless careers.

Marie and Phil Mould – who raised five of their own children, with six grandchildren also in the picture – began their fostering journey in 1980 for Catholic Care. Eight years later they went on to become carers for Sunderland City Council, where they have stayed for the past 25 years.

Throughout this time of caring for so many children, they made a point of “helping each one move back to family members or onto an adoptive family” – a resounding success given the complexity of each and every foster placement.

The Echo cites Councillor Pat Smith, portfolio holder for children’s’ services: “Marie remembers her first placement from us well. A little boy who went on to be adopted by another family and is now a 25 year old electrician,
who still sends a Christmas card every year.” She continues: “it is because of carers such as Marie and Phil that children’s services are able to provide loving and safe environments to children … [without their efforts] we would not be able to protect some of society’s most vulnerable children”.

Marie explains her pride at “the career we’ve had in fostering”; that despite some difficult times, finding the joy in each and every child along the way made it all worthwhile: “It’s great when the children keep in touch – some are even sending us photos of their own children”.

The article also reveals that Marie’s caring career will not totally end with her retirement from fostering in her own home; she plans on continuing her training of adoptive parents, as well as on joining the Sunderland County panel to approve hopeful foster carers in future.

For our team at Perpetual Fostering, there’s no greater reward for our work than hearing that children successfully transition through placements, and ultimately through society at large. Hearing the glowing reports such as these proves the difference foster carers make to countless children’s lives, and that’s to say nothing of the passion Marie and Phil have shown through their work.

If you’re curious about providing foster care, find out some of our own success stories, or get in touch with a member of the team.

Having previously mentioned points to think about in the early stages of becoming a foster carer, we thought it was time to go into a little more depth about the process as a whole. 

What exactly is required when becoming a foster carer?

Am I going to have inspector visits to my home?

How long will it all take?

What will they want to know about me and my family?

It’s natural to have plenty of questions when we embark on a new chapter in life. However, becoming a foster carer is the kind of chapter in which the stakes can be higher. The decisions made early on have a real, lasting impact on a select group of people, and not just yourself and your immediate family. At Perpetual Fostering we strive for excellence in supporting the amazing people who foster with us. We believe in empowering our foster carers throughout the relationship, and that starts with transparency. So read on for insights into how the placement process plays out, our mindset and thinking behind each step, and where potential foster carers fit into the journey.

After the initial enquiry, things kick off with a response call, during which candidates are asked around 10-12 questions, largely covering:

  • whether you have a spare bedroom, i.e. one solely available for a foster child
  • any past misdemeanours or criminal convictions
  • the status of your overall health
  • past relationships
  • your financial health
  • whether you have any dangerous animals in your household
  • the motivation behind your interest in fostering

Following on from this, an initial visit is made to the household, the purpose being to inspect the potential home of a foster child. The social worker responsible then summarises these findings to their manager. After this, the candidate is invited to a three-day skills and assessment workshop. This involves an evaluation of the actual person; what kind of personality and temperament they possess, how they respond to challenging situations, their interpersonal skills, and so on.

Last but not least, a series of home visits – between six to eight different occasions in total –  are carried out, with each visit lasting around two to three hours. Home visits are conducted with the view of:

  • getting the measure of the overall stability of the family and home environment.
  • building an accurate chronology and understanding of the family unit
  • enquiring about the relational health of family members, i.e. if there is a string of failed relationships on the part of the parents.
  • Statutory, Health, Local Authority and Sex Register checks – amongst others – are also carried out around this time.

This is the final step involving the candidate and their family, with the final verdict being communicated fairly promptly thereafter: the whole process generally requires around eight months in total.

To summarise, it’s important not to view the above as a number of overly-meticulous steps. For one, this level of careful consideration is just as crucial for potential foster carers, in determining whether foster caring is genuinely for them, as it is for fostering agencies to able to safeguard vulnerable foster children. Consider each step as an opportunity for self-reflection, especially in the early stages of such a significant life decision.

For another, being honest, conscientious and transparent with each answer, at each and every stage, can ensure smooth progression through the assessment process. Again, these checks are just as much about looking out for you as they are about protecting those arguably most affected by fostering: the children themselves.

If you’re considering becoming a foster carer, are curious about what is required, and want to find out more about the process, we encourage you to read more, or get in touch with us.