Oldham Council’s fostering service is keen to hear from anyone who is able to offer a home to a local child or young person, especially those who are able to look after a child on a long-term basis and take care of siblings.
The service supports around 200 fostering families, providing placements for around 316 children.
However, more families, like Oldham foster carers, Sharon and Mick Stacey are needed.
Sharon and Mick have been fostering since 2012 and they care for three brothers and sisters on a long-term basis.
Sharon said: “I became interested in fostering whilst working in a children’s residential home. I’ve worked with lots of young people who were desperate for a chance to live with a family, but the shortage of foster carers prevented them from having that chance.
“We have always enjoyed being around children and young people and wanted to give someone a chance to be a part of our family.”
Sharon and Mick have provided a home where three siblings feel safe, settled, wanted and loved without the fear of having to move again. There are lots of different types of fostering to suit your home and family and Oldham Council will support you throughout the whole process.
Sharon added: “We believe it is important for children to know that they are with their carers for the long term, as this helps them feel secure. It also helps them to build a good relationship with their carers and increase their self-esteem knowing that someone wants them to be part of the family.
“Keeping brothers and sisters together is also vital and what most children and young people would want if they were asked. It is a massive thing for a child or young person to live away from their family, and being split up from their siblings as well is a huge wrench for any child.
Mick said “Fostering is one of the most rewarding things that you can do, but it can be challenging at times.
“Please don’t be put off by other people or things you might read about children in care. In our experience these children just need to feel loved and wanted, they need consistency and structure and they need your patience and time.
“If you are thinking of fostering, we would say speak with Oldham’s Fostering Team and gather as much information as you can do. We’d also advise that wherever possible, speak to foster carers as they know what fostering entails.”
You can apply to foster regardless of marital status, sexuality, race or religion, or whether you are in work or have a disability. All the fostering service ask is that you are over 21, enjoy working with children and have room in your home.
Carers receive a tailored support package, plus payments and allowances up to £29,000 per year (dependent on skills and experience).
Councillor Amanda Chadderton, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “For many, the festive period is all about family, sadly though there are a number of children in Oldham who, for many reasons, are unable to live at home.
“Foster families are incredible and make such a difference to these children and young people. They welcome them into their home, treat them as a member of their own family and are there for them at a time when they need it the most. If you think you can provide a loving home to our children in care, please get in touch.”
Call 0161 770 6600 or visit www.oldham.gov.uk/fostering to find out more.