Thursday 24 March 2016
Many people have the skills and childcare experience to become foster carers, helping to provide safe and caring homes for some of Kent’s most vulnerable children. Some foster carers also use their own specialist knowledge gained through employment, training or personal circumstances to care for children and young people with more complex needs. National Fostering Group would like to speak to anyone who is interested in transforming a child’s life, particularly if they might be interested in caring for young people who are on remand.
Children and young people who are fostered on a remand care basis will be looked after in a family environment, pending court dates for an offence they are alleged to have committed. This provides an alternative to the young person being held in custody or in secure accommodation, giving them a chance to demonstrate positive changes to their behaviour in society. There may be strict bail conditions that must be upheld by the young person in a remand placement, such as reporting to a police station regularly, and Remand Foster Carers also help to ensure that the young person attends court dates and meetings with solicitors.
Jamie lived in London and had become involved with gang culture. He was dealing drugs, although he did not use them himself, and he was severely wounded in a knife attack one evening. Jamie was keen to distance himself from his current lifestyle, so after 9 days in hospital he was discharged into the care of Liz and Steve, NFA foster carers who live in Kent.
Liz and Steve worked with Jamie to rebuild his confidence, meaning that he was able to return to college and to his Youth Apprenticeship. They accompanied Jamie to hospital appointments and helped him to maintain contact with his family. They also transported Jamie to court appearances, where it was positive for the court to see that Jamie presented himself well and was supported by his foster carers.
Jamie is now very positive about his future. He has secured paid work with a youth centre where he had previously been volunteering, has given talks to youth groups around London and is looking to apply to universities. When Jamie was attacked he considered giving up on his education, but with the support and encouragement of his foster carers he was able to believe in himself again. Jamie now lives independently but still has regular contact with Liz and Steve, whether by visiting them or just calling for advice.
‘This young man has been a pleasure to work with,’ says Liz. ‘He has real confidence, commitment and drive, and we look forward to his achievements in the future.’
Foster carers from a variety of backgrounds are needed urgently in Kent to care for children of all ages. NFA are particularly interested in hearing from anyone who may be able to care for young people who are on remand, such as individuals or couples who have a background in the police, prison service, mental health services or youth work. In return, NFA offer specialist training, a generous allowance and 24/7 support from experienced social workers.
If you’re thinking about becoming a foster carer, get in touch with your local team to take the next step.