Barnet Council is asking residents if they have More to Give as it continues trying to increase the number of foster carers in the borough.
In Barnet, the borough with the largest population in London, there are currently 326 children and young people in care. As there are only 104 foster carers within the Barnet network, there is a growing need for more foster carers, particularly those who can care for teenagers, sibling groups and children and young people with additional needs.
Over 100 children came in to care between May and December 2017. Approximately 81 percent of these children are over the age of 12 and 54 percent are over the age of 16.
The population is estimated to grow by almost 10 per cent from 2013 to 2018, making the need for more foster carers even more vital.
The fostering service needs people from all walks of life. All you need to have is a spare room, be sensible and have a sense of adventure. There are various ways you could provide support to a child or young person. These include offering a spare room to someone who is nearing independence and supporting them as they navigate through to adulthood or long term fostering where a child could be with you for many years.
Councillor Reuben Thompstone, Chairman of the Children Education Libraries and Safeguarding Committee, said: “Foster families help provide children and young people with the necessary stability, care and love that they need at crucial times of their lives. Fostering is a great responsibility but it is also incredibly rewarding as you can make a huge difference to someone’s life.
“You don’t need any special skills to become a foster carer, just an open mind and willingness to help improve the life of a child.
“We are really keen to find more people who would be willing to foster, especially those who are able to look after sibling groups, teenagers and children with additional needs. If this sounds like you, we would love to hear from you.”
Barnet’s Children and Young People’s Plan sets the outcomes the council is looking to achieve for this population, beginning with ensuring that every child in Barnet has a great start in life, with the security and safety to grow in a nurturing environment.
As well as providing a home to a child in care, residents who become Barnet foster carers receive weekly allowances, a dedicated social worker, out-of-hours support and ongoing training.
If you think you’ve got more to give and could help young people in the borough realise their potential, get in touch with our fostering team today by calling: 020 8359 6274 or visiting: www.barnet.gov.uk/fostering. You can also join our Facebook Live chat on Thursday 8 February. Like our Facebook page to find out more - https://www.facebook.com/BarnetCouncil