Dorset calls for more foster carers

Dorset County Council is looking for more people to become fostercarers.

Amanda has been fostering for 10 years and recently left an independent agency to foster with Dorset County Council again.

She has four children of her own aged 19, 15, 12 and 5. She was originally approved as a Dorset County Council carer and fostered with the local authority for the first four years.  However, following a relationship breakdown with her partner, she decided to take a break from fostering.

When she was ready to foster again, Amanda was drawn to an independent agency over the local authority. She felt she would get better support and could no longer afford to foster on the council’s fee structure at that time.

Dorset County Council has recently reviewed its fees and allowances and offers a generous package that’s linked to the skills and experience of each carer. This helped Amanda make the decision to foster with the local authority again.

As an experienced carer, the amount of money that Amanda receives with Dorset County Council is now in line with the fees she was getting from the independent agency. She said: “The new skill levels introduced by the county council show that they value their carers and recognise the loyalty, training and experience shown by them.”

Other benefits of fostering with Dorset County Council include:

reassurance that we’ll always place a child with our own foster carers before we approach an independent agency

a key social worker as your main contact

access to support groups with other carers

the knowledge that you’re caring for a Dorset child

Amanda is currently fostering a 13-year-old boy and has referred family and friends who are now also fostering for Dorset County Council:

“My mother in-law is now a foster carer and specialises in unaccompanied minors who are asylum seekers but between placements she offers respite placements,” she said.

Until recently, Amanda also worked 30 hours per week as a teaching assistant for children with special educational needs, which she says fitted perfectly alongside fostering.

She added: “More people need to consider fostering, but we have a lot of myths to de-bunk. Most importantly, people need to realise that you’re not expected to be the perfect parent – it’s not possible! Safety, love, patience, space, food and clothing is all most children want.”

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