Keep children within their communities: more foster carers are needed in Birmingham

Two foster carers hold the young baby in their care. The female carer has long braids and is holding the baby. The male carer has a high top hairstyle and is leaning forwards to look at the baby's face Published: 9th May 2022

Foster carers who can support sibling groups and teenagers are particularly needed locally.

Too often, due to a lack of foster carers, children are placed with foster families away from their local communities, and sibling groups are separated. This warning comes from the UK’s leading fostering charity, The Fostering Network, joined by Birmingham Children’s Trust.

This issue is highlighted during Foster Care Fortnight (9-22 May), the charity’s annual awareness raising campaign, as they call for more people to come forward to foster, to ensure that children in need of a foster home can be cared for locally.

In Birmingham, more fostering households are needed to make sure every child that can’t live with their own family gets the care they need and are well supported within their community.

Foster carers who can support sibling groups and teenagers are particularly needed locally.

Mitchell, is a local foster carer who looks after teenagers, and says: “Raising a teenager is like taking a daily shower; if you rush them they are cold, if you don’t concentrate on them they are a risk, but if you take the time to prepare them, they are the most refreshing part of your day.”

Currently, there are over 760 children living with almost 580 foster families in Birmingham and the number of children coming into care keeps rising. The reasons children become looked after vary widely, including a parent’s illness or another problem which means they can’t be cared for by their own family. Some children may have witnessed domestic violence or drug abuse, and others may have been abused or neglected.

Some foster families look after children on a short-term basis, but for many, fostering offers them a secure, permanent home. Foster carers in Birmingham provide support and care in a family setting and enable children to stay in their local community with everything that is familiar to them. This minimises further disruption to their lives by helping them stay in their school, close to their friends, and maintaining connections with other family members.

Each child’s circumstances and needs are different, but every child has the right to have their needs met within their own community, together with their siblings if they have any.

Sandie Paul, Assistant Head of Fostering at Birmingham Children’s Trust, says: “At Birmingham Children’s Trust we celebrate our foster carers and the difference they make every day for our children; every day people doing something amazing. We hope that many other people are able to hear and see the difference foster carers can and do make and contact us about becoming part of Birmingham’s biggest family! Don’t just talk about it, be the difference!”

Two information events are being held during Foster Care Fortnight for anyone who is interested in finding out more about becoming a foster carer. These friendly and informative events include information about the practical requirements needed to become a foster carer, the support you can expect from the Trust, and the process to become a foster carer. There will also be an experienced foster carer available who will share their experiences of fostering and answer any questions you may have.

Both information events begin at 6pm and can be booked via www.fosterbirmingham.co.uk:

  • Thursday 12th May at the Trinity Centre, Sutton Coldfield, B72 1TF
  • Thursday 19th May via Teams