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21 May 2013

Smashing the foster carer stereotypes

Smashing the foster carer stereotypes

We're half way through Foster Care Fortnight - an annual campaign organised by the Fostering Network to encourage people to consider fostering. There's an urgent need for, 9,000 new foster carers across the UK to provide loving and supportive homes for vulnerable children.

This year, their campaign is 'Get in the frame' – in which they are encouraging people from all walks of life to consider fostering.

Jackie Sanders, head of media and campaigns at the Fostering Network, said: "Foster carers can help children turn their lives around, offering them real security and stability and often their first positive experience of family life.

"This Foster Care Fortnight we're calling on people to get in the frame and think about fostering. There's no such thing as a typical foster carer - whatever your age, background and stage of life, what matters is that you have the skills and abilities to look after children separated from their own families and to help guide them through their childhood."

We want to take this message to the Church. We are convinced there are hundreds, if not thousands, of potential foster carers sitting in the pews around the UK. Therefore the Home for Good campaign is connecting with 'Get in the frame'.

Home for Good is an initiative being spearheaded by Care for the Family, CCPAS and the Evangelical Alliance, to encourage and equip churches to make fostering and adoption a normal part of church life.

Krish Kandiah, executive director: churches in mission / England at the Evangelical Alliance, explains: "As we've travelled the country many people seem to have the idea that being a foster carer is job for a middle-aged women. We want to smash that idea. There is already a huge variety of people fostering, but we also want to encourage more people, whatever their stage of life, to consider it."

We'll be profiling male foster carers; building up to Father's Day (16 June) when we're urging churches to use the opportunity to ask men to consider fostering.

Krish Kandiah explains: "From the hundreds of conversations I've had it seems that men are often the brakes in a couple when fostering is being considered. We certainly don't want to belittle their concerns – fostering is hard work. However, we want to inspire them, and ask them to think about taking up the challenge of becoming a foster carer."

Phil, a male foster carer, admits that when his wife suggested fostering he was concerned what the impact would be on their family. However, although it's been a rollercoaster of emotions, he's found that it's enhanced their family life.

If you're considering fostering, or would like to find out how your church could encourage people to foster and support foster carers visiting homeforgood.org.uk

Read the stories of three male foster carers:

John's story

Phil's story

David's story