People in Bristol are being invited to talk about fostering at a special event on Wednesday 25th September which aims to address the shortage of foster carers to support city children.
With 660 extra carers needed across the South West this year, the Big Fostering Conversation will allow citizens to find out the many ways they can help children in care, care leavers and fostering families.
Record numbers of children are currently in care and with around 13 per cent of the foster carer workforce retiring or leaving every year, the Fostering Network estimates at least a further 8,600 foster families are needed across the UK in the next 12 months alone, particularly carers to look after teenagers and sibling groups.
Wednesday’s event will address the frequently asked questions about fostering, including; how many children are in care, why they come into care, what a foster carer does and why more are needed.
The Big Fostering Conversation will also highlight other ways to contribute for those keen to help despite their circumstances meaning they are unable to become foster carers themselves.
Businesses and local organisations can also find out how they can help the children in care of our city through their Corporate Social Responsibility policies or by becoming a Fostering Friendly Employer, with the event also ideal for those interested in becoming foster carers and mentors.
There will be talks by foster carers, care leavers, faith organisations, mentors to children in care and much more.
George, a Bristol City Council foster carer explains:
“This event is really important for fostering. We hold recruitment events purely for anyone thinking about becoming a foster carer but this is a much more holistic approach that gathers all of the goodwill in the city. For example we recently had agreement from leisure providers that foster carers and care leavers can have free gym membership. This will help with foster care retention, with improving mental health of care leavers and also form part of our offer to those thinking of fostering.”
Councillor Helen Godwin, Cabinet Member for Children, Women and Families adds:
“We are excited to hold this event, it’s a new way of engaging with the city and show people that you can help in so many different ways. We know already that many people want to help but are not sure how. This event will be a great chance to find out how, but also to start the important conversation about how we support and nurture the children in care, care leavers and foster carers in our city. I would urge anyone to come along and find out more.”
The event will run from 6.30-8pm at the Vassall Centre, Fishponds, Bristol on Wednesday 25th September.
If you would like to book a free place please visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-big-fostering-conversation-tickets.