“Happy endings start with foster carers” is the theme of this year’s Fostering and Adoption Jersey’s new campaign which aims to recruit more foster carers in Jersey.
The campaign, which coincides with the UK’s national foster carer’s fortnight, will run from 12th to 23rd of May 2014.
After the successful use of a ‘pop up’ shop in previous years to allow islanders to drop in and find out more about fostering and adoption, the fostering and adoption team will be using 62 Halkett Place as a ‘drop in’ centre daily until Saturday 17 May.
People who are interested in becoming a foster carer are invited to come and meet members of the team informally to find out more and ask any questions they might have.
The fostering campaign will provide an opportunity to raise awareness of the new skills based payment scheme, which is part of work being undertaken by Health and Social Services to ensure better outcomes for children in Jersey. The skills based payment scheme is an extra “allowance” for foster carers who are experienced carers and who have undertaken training regarding fostering.
Emmy Lindsey, manager Fostering and Adoption Jersey explained: “As well as a fostering allowance, which provides for the day to day cost of looking after a child, further payment is available to carers who have gained experience of fostering and have undertaken relevant training. It’s up to you how far you want to go; if you wish to, you can develop a genuine career in care by fostering a child.”
Emmy added: “If you foster a child with Fostering and Adoption Jersey, you’ll become part of a professional team which works to support you 24/7. The Fostering and Adoption team will provide ongoing training, supervision and support, which will help carers to develop particular skills and abilities to look after children and young people with challenging behaviours and complex needs.
The campaign will also provide the opportunity to focus on how foster carers can offer a firm, caring and supportive foundation which can help children and young people move into the future with confidence.
Emmy said: ‘Foster carers make a huge difference to the lives of children and young people. A supportive and caring environment gives them the opportunity to achieve more and have higher aspirations. Dedicated foster carers help make sure that being in care is no barrier to young people achieving their ambitions.’
Fostering and Adoption Jersey are using photographs of UK care leavers Sarah (air hostess) and Robyn, (graduate) to illustrate this important message.
Sarah said: “I am living my dream of being an air hostess and seeing the world, but I never would have got there without the support of my foster carer. She encouraged me to work hard, budget, do well at college and follow my dreams. My foster carer’s love and support made me feel like a normal child who had hope for their future.’
Robyn, who has recently gained a degree in English Literature and is now studying for her Masters also had a positive experience of being brought up in foster care: ‘My foster carers’ support made me want to better myself and make them proud. I definitely would not have achieved my goals without them. They always showed a genuine interest in my education and knowing that I could turn to them for love and encouragement was like a safety net that helped me through my studies.’
In Jersey there are care leavers with similar success stories which illustrate that foster carers can literally change lives.
The ‘Drop in’ Centre at 62 Halkett Place (opposite Pizza Express) will be open from Monday 12th May to (and including) Saturday 17th of May from 9:30 until 16:30.