This year nearly 500 children and young people in Buckinghamshire will spend Christmas away from their families.
Foster carers can make a huge difference to their lives, and Bucks families are being urged to consider giving a home to a child through fostering.
Angela Macpherson, Buckinghamshire’s cabinet member for children and families said: “We are continually looking for more people to offer placements to Bucks children, from babies through to teenagers.
“If you have a spare room then we want to talk to you and tell you a bit more about fostering so you can decide if it is for you. I hope that many people across the county will contact us to find out more.”
Foster carers can be married, in a civil partnership, single or living with a partner. They can be from any ethnic background, in work, unemployed or retired.
The council offers allowances, mentoring, training and development, high quality supervision and networking, including out-of-hours support.
Rachel and Barry, who have two children of their own decided to become foster carers four years ago, after their youngest child left for university.
Rachel said: “It was always something at the back of my mind that I wanted to do, but it was never the right time until my daughter left home and then we thought let’s go for it.”
The couple, who foster children from babies up to five-year-olds, has so far cared for nine children including six newborns, and have also provided respite care. They are currently caring for a three-month-old, a seven-month-old and a three-year-old.
Rachel said: “We’ve gained so much from fostering, and had so much fun along the way, especially when it comes to this time of year. We’re always excited to see the children’s faces on Christmas morning and are usually the first ones downstairs.
“The children become such a big part of your life and it’s always heartbreaking when they go, but we try to keep in touch with as many of them as possible. All you can do is hope that you’ve given them the best possible start in life you can, as you would your own children.”
Rachel and Barry urge anyone with an interest in fostering to find out as much as they can.
Rachel said: “If it’s something you want to do then go and find out about it. I’ve never regretted becoming a foster carer, but didn’t want to look back one day and regret not doing it. There are so many myths about fostering, but I’ve learnt so much and it’s been nothing but a positive experience for both me and my family.”
For more information on fostering visit www.buckscc.gov.uk/fostering or call us on 0800 160 1900. For adoption call the First Step Team 0800 160 1900, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.buckscc.gov.uk/adoption