Posted on Monday 9th January 2023
Foster Carers James and Victoria Fitzmaurice
Foster carers in Staffordshire are urging other families to join the county’s fostering family to help change a young person’s life.
‘Foster with us’ is the latest Staffordshire County Council campaign to help find families for some of the county’s most vulnerable children.
Every year, tens of thousands of children across the UK need someone to provide foster care. Staffordshire currently has around 400 foster families, however the service is aiming to recruit a further 60 families this year.
Rugeley foster carer James Fitzmaurice and his wife Victoria are one of the county council’s youngest foster families.
The couple, in their thirties, are encouraging more families to foster and said:
“Fostering is an amazing and rewarding thing to do and we’re keen to share our fostering experiences with others.
“We’ve been fostering for 18 months now and we are really enjoying every day. Each day is different and we feel like fostering has reinvigorated our purpose in life. It’s such an amazingly rewarding experience, which has brought all of our family together in a hugely positive way.
“There’s a friendly fostering community here in Staffordshire and you’re never on your own. Other foster carers are always willing to give advice and help each other out. One of our family members is also a foster carer, so they are always there to offer support too and we’ve made friends locally, which has broadened our social network with likeminded people.
“I’d say to anyone thinking about fostering to just go for it and request an information pack. You’ll also get the chance to talk to staff about all the great training and support groups that are available too.”
Neil and Pat Hamilton from Newcastle-under-Lyme have been resilience foster carers for the authority for three years and specialise in fostering children who have previously lived in residential care.
“We’ve been fostering for just over 3 years and it’s a great thing to do. We get rewards every day; they are the little things which add up and make you know that you are making a difference to that young person.
“The support you get is second to none and has always been available when we’ve needed it. Fostering is challenging but worth it and I would encourage anyone thinking about fostering to just go for it, it’s the best thing we have ever done.“
Mark Sutton, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People at Staffordshire County Council said:
“Foster with us is the theme for this latest campaign and we hope that by showing families the difference that foster carers can make, the more people will come forward.
“We all want to see children and young people get the best possible start in life and be able to realise their dreams, and that’s exactly what you could do as an approved foster carer for your local council.
“All sorts of people can and do foster and there’s always advice on hand and lots of training and ongoing support available. If you’re interested in making a real difference to a young person’s life, then please get in touch with the team.”
Virtual information events are taking place on Facebook on Friday 13 January at 11am and a live information meeting via teams on Thursday 26 January at 7pm. The team are also happy to make a home visit for anyone interested in finding out more about fostering with the county council.
Further details are available at www.fosterforstaffordshire.co.uk or by calling 0800 169 2061.