Residents in Henley are being encouraged to become foster carers in a heart touching campaign launched this month by Oxfordshire County Council.
Posters appearing in local libraries and as digital adverts feature the close bond between child and foster parent, accompanied by the words, ‘love, that’s what you need’. There are also two social media films:
Sue, foster carer, who explains that: “These children don’t want money. They don’t want things. They just want love and attention, and they want your time.”
And in the second film, heart-warming sentiments from Shaniya, adopted daughter and foster sister.
Councillor Liz Brighouse, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Youth Services, said: “We are committed to giving every child and young person the very best start in life, but we can’t do it alone. When it comes to foster carers, it’s a very much a partnership between the county council and families living across Oxfordshire.
“We need enthusiastic, caring and dedicated families who are willing to offer a safe, stable and loving home life for children and young people who cannot remain living with their birth family.
“I’ve heard foster carers say that you don’t know until you try. For many, it’s a daunting experience taking on such a responsibility. But as they bond with the child and children that they foster it becomes hugely rewarding. To support them in their role, we have a specialist team that provides dedicated support, so a foster carer will never feel alone.
“If you’re thinking about fostering, but aren’t sure, please do contact us and ask for more information.”
Ed and Maggie Atkinson are Henley foster carers. Ed said: “We were inspired to foster by meeting other foster families in Henley and beyond. We loved the idea of giving love and security to children. It has made life so much richer and has helped our own (now adult) children grow up to be caring people themselves. Yes, do go for it!”
Oxfordshire County Council foster carers receive:
- A welcome payment of £1,500, to help make the transition to foster carer.
- Generous fees, paid in addition to the child’s allowance, based on experience and skills.
- Dedicated social worker support.
- Access to professionals involved with the child/children.
- Links with support groups, specialised training and therapeutic advice.