The effects of the Covid 19 pandemic have resulted in a rise in children needing foster care and a fall in people coming forward to become foster carers – something which Solihull Council is hoping residents can help change.
The fostering team is hosting a virtual information event to recruit new foster carers and is inviting those who feel able to offer a Solihull child a safe and loving home the opportunity to find out more.
Pressures such as job losses and declining mental health during the pandemic have resulted in more families needing access to services and lockdowns have meant that vulnerable children have spent more time at home where they may have experienced neglect and abuse.
At the same time, those people who might have been considering fostering pre-Covid have had to turn their spare bedroom into a home office, meaning they no longer have the space to take in a foster child.
Cllr Richard Holt, Solihull’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Skills said: “The pandemic has created the perfect storm for our fostering service and we are desperately looking for people who feel they can provide a stable and loving home for a vulnerable child in Solihull.
“We are holding a virtual information evening on Tuesday 28th September 6.30-7.30pm and I would urge anyone who would like to find out more about fostering to attend.
“The online meeting will give people the opportunity to learn about the fostering process, ask any questions they may have and speak informally to some current foster carers.”
Michelle, 41, from Solihull was approved as a foster carer in September last year after deciding to transfer the skills she’d built up in her childminding business into providing a home for a vulnerable child.
She said: “I completed my training during the first lockdown, became approved in September and had my first placement in October.
“I knew that there was a rise in children going into care during the pandemic and this confirmed that I’d made the right decision to become a foster carer. I felt pleased to be playing a part in helping those children.
“Even though my first placement began during the challenging times of Covid, I always felt surrounded by support from the fostering team at Solihull Council and my supervising social worker has been wonderful.”
Almost anyone can become a foster carer, whether you are single, married, young or retired, a home owner or in rented accommodation. All you need is a spare bedroom and a willingness to give a child a safe and loving home. Foster carers of all ages, cultures and backgrounds are needed in Solihull to look after children for short and longer periods of time. In return, foster carers receive an extensive support package including training and professional development as well as a generous fostering allowance.
If you are interested in joining the information session, which will be held via Microsoft Teams on Tuesday 28th September at 6.30pm, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
For further information on fostering people are invited to sign up to the Council’s email news alerts www.solihull.gov.uk/stayconnected. For more information please call 0121 788 4253 or visit www.solihull.gov.uk/fostering