Urgent appeal for Chesterfield foster carers

FAMILY FUN: Being foster carers is really rewarding for Sue and Pete.

FAMILY FUN: Being foster carers is really rewarding for Sue and Pete.

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An urgent appeal is being issued for more foster carers in the Chesterfield area.

Derbyshire County Council needs more homes in the north east of the county to help look after growing numbers of children in care.

The authority is appealing for people from all backgrounds to come forward and find out more.

Currently there are 41 foster carers in the Chesterfield area, but the county council needs to recruit at least ten more to make sure there are enough homes available.

Councillor Barry Lewis, Derbyshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Young People, said: “There are lots of good reasons to become a foster carer.

“It’s enjoyable, rewarding and you help give a child the love, support and start in life that they need.

“We’re very proud of the excellent carers we already have and want to add to our team so we have the wide choice of homes we need throughout Derbyshire.”

Foster carers receive:

- Full training and equipment to help look after a child – including a laptop, and broadband allowance

- Fees and allowances ranging from £126 to £468

- Extra cash for holiday, birthday and festivity allowances and the chance to earn annual bonuses

- Their own social worker to provide support

- Free access to leisure and swimming facilities for their family and foster child

- An experienced foster carer to act as a ‘mentor’, if needed

- Membership of the Workforce Extra discount shopping scheme to help save hundreds of pounds and/or cash-back with stores including Sainsbury’s, Asda, Argos, Boots, Debenhams and other major retailers

- Recognition through the authority’s long-service staff scheme with a celebration dinner and gift vouchers awarded

- Opportunities to have fun and socialise with other carers at special events including the Big Book Bash literature festival and Young Achiever Children in Care Awards.

Foster carers Sue and Pete Jacques, from Chesterfield, have looked after 15 children since they began working for the authority four years ago.

With their own three children having grown-up and flown the nest it could have been tempting to take it easy and relax.

But instead they chose not to rest on their child-raising laurels and instead put their heart and soul into giving a new generation of youngsters a good start in life.

Sue, a teaching assistant, said: “Coming from a big family myself I’ve been used to having lots of children around me – it’s a bit like being the Pied Piper!

“Being a carer is really rewarding and we get a lot out of it.”

Sue and Pete, a service manager, provide link foster care which is short, planned breaks for children with disabilities.

Councillor Lewis added: “There are lots of different types of fostering you can do.

“We’d rather invest the money we have in our own fostering service than have to use expensive emergency agency placements that aren’t necessarily what we would choose for a child.

“With the support of our foster carers we can keep local children in local homes near their schools and friends.”

A child goes into care every 22 minutes in the UK, and numbers in Derbyshire have been increasing for the past four years, rising from 546 in 2008 to 660 in March last year.

Find out more at www.derbyshire.gov.uk/fostering or Call Derbyshire on 08456 058 058 or 01629 533190.