KCC joins national call for foster carers

Young girl in red jackets surrounded by falling autumn leaves

Kent County Council (KCC) has linked up with local authorities around the country to highlight through film the urgent need for foster carers.

Across the UK, including Kent, there is shortage of loving homes for vulnerable children and young people in their own area.

Foster child Chloe's story features  in 'Any of Us'

By sharing the story of Chloe’s journey into fostering, KCC is one of 80 councils and children’s trusts hoping the powerful joint-funded film called ‘Any of Us’ will show lots of people have what it takes to be foster carers – and inspire more households to join the local authority fostering network.

The film goes live on KCC’s You Tube at 4pm on Tuesday 26th September, following the national premier at the Everyman Cinema in Birmingham at noon the same day.

KCC’s Fostering Service works hard to ensure the vulnerable children that come into its care find homes near to their friends, school and family; and Kent Fostering wants to hear from people from all communities considering fostering – regardless of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age or marital status.

You don’t need specific qualifications to become a foster carer. But you do need a drive and passion to want the best outcomes for children and you will get full training and support.

You also need to be a full-time resident in the UK, or have leave to remain, have a spare room (unless fostering under-2s, who would need to be in the same room as the carer). You also need to be able to give the time to care for a child who may have had a difficult start in life.

Kent County Council member Sue Chandler

By joining forces with other local councils around the country to produce this moving film, we hope more residents will hear our urgent call for foster carers and be inspired to come forward and make a difference to a child’s life.

Sue Chandler KCC Cabinet Member for Integrated Children's Services

Sue Chandler, Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Integrated Children's Services, said: “Sadly the number of children coming into KCC’s care continues to increase and we really want to encourage residents to foster with us, rather than through an independent fostering agency. This way more Kent children will find loving homes in Kent – close to everyone and everything that is important to them.

“By joining forces with other local councils around the country to produce this moving film, we hope more residents will hear our urgent call for foster carers and be inspired to come forward and make a difference to a child’s life.

“Fostering can be challenging but also immensely rewarding, with excellent support from the highly experienced Kent Fostering every step of the way – plus financial benefits, training, career progression and holiday entitlement.”

By fostering with Kent Fostering you will get:

  • Full training and development
  • 24-hour support all year round, including from a trained social worker
  • Weekly payments, and enhancements – up to £54,000
  • Rewarding bene­fits package
  • Paid annual leave, and
  • Be part of a fantastic fostering community.

Kent Fostering is the most experienced fostering agency in Kent having looked after children for over 40 years. The service is also rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.

If you are considering a return to fostering, or a new career with high levels of job satisfaction, and would like to hear more about joining the Kent Fostering community, please give our friendly team a call on 03000 420 002, or visit us at www.kentfostering.co.uk

You can also come along to one of our online information events. Visit Eventbrite for details. The next event is 10am, Saturday,14th October.

Foster carers Darrel and David Linehan-Dumont

Darrel Linehan-Dumont, of Sevenoaks,has been fostering, together with his husband David, for nearly 2 years.

Darrel said: “We have had some busy times, there have been some tears, excitement, and celebrations, but above all it has been so rewarding.

“We have had three children over the time we have been fostering and our last match was with two little boys who made such a massive impact on our family. Watching how much they changed and grew in the six months that they lived with us was amazing.

“[But]…it can be very tough at times. With this in mind, and in addition to the fantastic training you receive as a foster carer, it’s also really important and very advisable to take advantage of the additional support that KCC offers. It helped our journey so much.”

Foster carers Vicky and John Page

Vicky and John Page, of Folkestone, have been foster carers since June 2020.

Vicky explains: “After having my two girls, and with 19 years of nursery life experience in an early years setting, I was ready to…embrace a new adventure and fostering had always been at the back of my mind.

“We chose Kent County Council to foster as we had done a lot of research and believed that this Council were the most supportive of their carers, which has turned out to be so true! As foster carers we have always felt supported by our fostering social worker and reassured that they will be on hand to answer any questions that we have.

“It’s not just a job though, you open your house, family and heart to help vulnerable children and being a key part in helping these children change their lives around – it is just so rewarding!

“It is hard to explain but being able to watch children grow and flourish is the most beautiful feeling in the world and to know that we have made that happen as a family gives us such happiness… I look forward to many more years of fostering with the Kent Fostering Team.”

If you’ve been inspired by Darrel’s and Vicky’s stories and would like to find out more, please call us on 03000 420 002, send us an email at kentfostering@kent.gov.uk or visit our website page www.kentfostering.co.uk.

Follow #KentFostering and #FosteringCommunities on social media and help promote the new fostering film, produced by the ReelTwentyFive film production company, using the #anyofus hashtag.