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Foster care: ‘everybody should do it – children are precious’

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GUERNSEY’S Family Placement Service is taking part in the national Foster Care Fortnight campaign to challenge myths and misconceptions about fostering.

Foster carer and adopter Keith Robins, who also runs term-time hosting, with supervising social worker Vicki Tennant at the Guernsey Foster Care drop-in event at Beau Sejour. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 21485515)

The Family Placement Service team are keen to show that people from all aspects of society already are, or can be, foster carers and that everyone can show their support for fostering.

An informal information sharing event at Beau Sejour took place yesterday, focused on introducing interested parties to staff from the Family Placement Service, foster carers and supporters of foster care.

Supervising social worker Vicki Tennant said the service had plenty of carers, but they want to build on what they have by being able to offer children the right care.

‘While we do have foster carers, we want to be able to offer children that come into care a variety of options,’ she said.

‘Different children have different skill sets, so we need to match them to the best carer for them, rather than just who we have available.

‘It’s about what their needs are, their age, preferably someone who’s close to their school and, where possible, keeping siblings together, which is a big aim.’

There are currently 20 fostering households in Guernsey and 29 children being looked after, which includes nine sibling groups.

Specialist foster career Flo Carre, who looks after children who have suffered trauma or have complex needs, said fostering is a full-time job but it is one that she loves.

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‘It’s a job, it’s 24-7,’ she said.

‘But no child deserves to be abused, every child deserves to have a normal life.

‘So it’s about welcoming somebody into your family, someone who hasn’t had the experience of normal family life, and showing them that there is a another side to life.

‘It’s fascinating – you need to be interested in brain development, psychology and nurture.

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‘Everybody should do it, because children are precious.

‘Although it’s not all hunky-dory, you go in with your heart on your sleeve and it can be difficult, but I love it.’

The foster care network is expressing the joy fostering can bring through film, social networks, blogs and the media.

People are asked to share what they are proud of as foster carers or supporters of fostering through the social media hashtags #ProudToFoster and #ProudToSupportFostering.

Foster Care Fortnight runs from 14-27 May, with this year’s Foster Care Walk taking place on 20 May.

Wearing bright colours, carers, supporters, families and their dogs will be walking from Grandes Rocques to Ladies’ Bay.

The event is open to all, meeting at the Grandes Rocques rear car park ready for an 11am start.

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