Urgent need for Somerset residents to support local children in care

Released On 1st Feb 2024

Urgent need for Somerset residents to support local children in care

Somerset residents have the potential to make a difference to a vulnerable child’s life and future, providing better outcomes for local children in care and long-term cost savings for Somerset Council.

You can change a child’s story as a foster carer. This is the powerful and emotive message behind a new short film from Somerset Council’s Fostering Service, which aims to highlight the important role of foster carers and encourage families and individuals with room in their homes and hearts to consider fostering.

Willow’s Story’ is the third instalment in the ‘Change A Child’s Story’ series from Fostering in Somerset; a 50 second promotional video which shares the positive impact of a foster carer on the lives of four children.

The advert had support and involvement from local sports club and team, Somerton Rugby, who took to social media to share the film and their participation.

With over 580 Somerset children currently in care, and only 152 in-house foster carers, there is an urgent need for more foster homes to provide stability and safety for vulnerable children of all ages, but particularly teenagers. In September 2023, there were almost 300 children aged between 13 – 17 in care across Somerset.

Placing Looked After Children with a nurturing family in a stable foster home provides better outcomes for children and young people in care, ensuring that local children remain in their local communities, surrounded by the faces and places they know. However, recruiting more in-house foster carers will also reduce high-cost external placement numbers, providing significant long-term cost savings for Somerset Council, at a time when finances are under intense pressures and scrutiny.

Foster care is a rewarding paid role, with full training and support provided. No experience is necessary to foster, but you need to be aged over 21 with a spare room in your home, though what matters most is that you have the compassion, resilience and time to support a young person who may have experienced trauma.

Cllr Heather Shearer, Lead Member for Children, Families and Education, said:

"Let’s work together to ensure Somerset children stay in Somerset. We’re seeking people who want to start the year with purpose, and who can make a difference close to home by becoming a foster carer, to give local children the love and support they deserve.
"Foster care isn’t just a fulfilling experience; it’s a paid role that can work around your lifestyle. For some people it can even be a fantastic career alternative with specialist schemes such as High Need foster care, or Parent & Child. Whether you can commit to caring just one weekend a month or are ready for the challenge of providing complex care, there are many ways to make a difference to a young person’s life this year."

Willow’s Story is currently being shown during the ad breaks live on ITV and ITVX on demand, up until mid-February. You can also view the film on the Fostering in Somerset Facebook and Instagram accounts by searching @fosteringinsomerset.

For more information on fostering, visit www.fosteringinsomerset.org.uk or call 0800 587 9900 and speak to our friendly team. You’re not committing to anything by getting in touch to find out more, and you could change a child’s story.

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