Adur, West & East Worthing Party including East Arun

Could you be a foster carer?

Find out more about fostering and how you can become a foster carer at a drop-in session in Worthing this month.

West Sussex County Council is holding a year-long recruitment campaign of monthly drop-in sessions for prospective foster carers. The next session is on Tuesday April 17, from 10am to 4pm, at Worthing Library, Richmond Road, Worthing, BN11 1HD.

The informal drop-in sessions give people a chance to talk to members of the fostering team and ask any questions they may have.

In particular, the County Council is keen for potential foster carers from ethnic minority backgrounds to come forward.

Tina Hunt’s father was from Bangladesh. She and her husband David are from the Worthing/Adur area. They’ve been foster carers for the County Council for five years and currently have four young people staying with them.

Tina said: “I was looked after myself and was with Dr Barnados from the age of three to 13. I was at home with my four children when they were growing up and my husband suggested we look into becoming foster carers. Being a foster carer makes me feel like I am giving something back.

“We’ve had people from across the board stay with us over the years, from mothers and babies to unaccompanied minors, long-term placements to emergency placements.

“Fostering is very challenging, but rewarding – you are on the frontline 24/7. We have a Family Placement Social Worker that supports us as carers. They visit us regularly and you can always get hold of someone on the phone if you need some support or guidance.

“We’ve also made a lovely group of friends from training courses and we meet socially  – we are all in a similar situation and understand the issues we go through.

“It’s so rewarding to see young people who have stayed with you do well, especially if they have had a difficult past. There are some very nice touches – we had a young girl stay with us who was always absconding. She’s now a mother herself and coping fantastically – she comes back to see us every fortnight.”

Deputy Cabinet Member for Children and Families Nigel Peters said: “Foster carers like Tina provide security and stability to children when they need it most, allowing them a chance to develop and flourish in a safe, secure environment. Every child who has to come into care has its own emotional needs, history and personal circumstances. The County Council strives to match foster carers with their own unique skills and experiences to them.

“We are currently looking for more foster carers in the Worthing area to come forward. Children thrive on familiarity, so our approach means children and young people who need care stay close to their school, friends, people and places they know.

“Being a foster carer is very rewarding and I would urge anyone who has considered becoming a foster carer, or would like to find out more, to come along to the drop-in session.”

Foster carers receive a comprehensive support package from the Council, including ongoing training and financial allowances to meet the needs of the children and young people in their care.

Drop-in sessions are being held throughout the county, and more details on future events can be found at www.westsussex.gov.uk/fostering or by calling 01403 229333.