Across the UK there is an urgent need for foster carers and sadly the situation is set to worsen as the cost-of-living crisis bites harder over the coming months.
In Stoke-on-Trent alone, there are currently over 1,000 children in care. This is the highest figure on record and double the number from five years ago.
It can cost thousands of pounds a month to place a child in a care home whereas fostering costs are much lower and more likely to provide an environment which gives a child a better chance of future stability.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council are desperately trying to recruit more foster carers, not just in the city but from the surrounding areas. They have a particularly urgent need for their emergency placements, often one or two days, and respite care where foster families may have holidays or other commitments.
Staffordshire Chambers has recently been awarded Foster Friendly status – the national Fostering Network’s programme to encourage employers to support fostering, and in particular, foster carers.
The Fostering Network is the UK’s leading fostering charity and are the essential network for fostering, bringing together everyone who is involved in the lives of fostered children. They champion fostering and seek to create vital change so that foster care is the very best it can be. As part of that they have the Fostering Friendly programme which has been developed to encourage employers to support fostering, and in particular, foster carers.
To be recognised as a Fostering Friendly employer we’ve had to demonstrate our support for employees, making the workplace friendlier for foster carers to benefit the children in their care and making it easier for people to consider fostering.
Members of the scheme agree to put in place a fostering-friendly HR policy for all foster carers and we now have a new fostering-friendly policy for all our employees. It sets out the benefits for any staff member who decides to come forward to become a foster carer including flexible working arrangements and paid time off for training and settling a new child into their home.
We are urging organisations and businesses across Staffordshire to become Fostering Friendly. Also, Stoke-on-Trent is aiming to become the first Fostering Friendly city in the UK, and I know many of our fabulous socially responsible businesses will be keen to sign up to this most worthy cause.
You can meet the Stoke-on-Trent fostering team at Let’s do Business at Uttoxeter Racecourse on 20th October: Let’s Do Business – Staffordshire Chambers
To learn how you can become a Fostering Friendly employer click the links here:
Or contact Kate Bailey at Soke-on-Trent City Council: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you want to talk to us about any business issues, including funding, you can call our switchboard on 01782 202222 or call the Stoke and Staffs Growth Hub Helpline on 0300 111 8002 or email: email@example.com