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Leading national voices involved in foster carer have today (Monday) joined a number of major Stoke-on-Trent employers at an event to promote the recruitment of foster carers in Stoke-on-Trent.

Around 30 delegates from local businesses across public and private sectors came together to celebrate confirmation that Stoke-on-Trent City Council will be the UK’s first Fostering Friendly city. The event took place at Staffordshire University’s new multi-million-pound building The Catalyst, as the university was confirmed as the latest Stoke-on-Trent based employer to become Fostering Friendly.

Fostering Friendly is a scheme created by The Fostering Network, which supports employers to implement a policy which promotes fostering and supports their foster carer employees. Stoke-on-Trent City Council is a Fostering Friendly employer and has been working hard over the last year to encourage major local employers to join in pledging support for children in care. 

Council leader Abi Brown said: “Children are our number one priority and we continue daily to promote ways in which people can support us as a council in making sure children in care get access to the best opportunities. We all want children and young people in our city to have the best possible start in life, and we all – businesses, communities, organisations – have a role to play in achieving this.

“We currently have ten Fostering Friendly organisations in the city signed up to the Fostering Friendly initiative and also have several more organisations very close to being officially signed up. We have more Fostering Friendly employers in Stoke-on-Trent than any other city in UK, showing how serious we are about coming together to support our children and young people as a place.  These ten employers represent approximately 13,000 employees; even if just a small percentage of these employees become foster carers, we can help change the lives of children that really need our support.”

Kevin Williams, Chief Executive at The Fostering Network who spoke in a panel at the event, said: “It has never been more important to promote foster care and the difference it makes to the lives of children and young people who need us most. We are proud to support the Fostering Friendly organisations based in Stoke-on-Trent and encourage others to join them. 
 
“There are many different types of fostering and becoming a foster carer is open to people from all walks of life and backgrounds. Please get in touch with Stoke-on-Trent City Council or your local fostering service to find out more.”

Staffordshire University has become the latest Fostering Friendly organisation in the city. The university has backed the council’s ambitions by pledging its support.

Professor Martin Jones, Staffordshire University’s Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive said: “We recognise and value the enormous contribution that foster carers make to the lives of children in care. We also understand the need for flexibility at work to meet the needs of foster children, which is why we are committed to supporting colleagues who are foster carers. As a Civic University committed to enhancing quality of life in our communities, we’re also delighted that Stoke-on-Trent is being recognised as the UK’s first fostering friendly city.”

With more than 1,000 children in care across the city, the city council is urging residents to consider fostering. No matter how often a person can foster - short term, weekends or emergencies only, foster carers are immensely needed.

Councillor Dave Evans, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “We want to provide loving and stable homes for children in care. Promoting fostering in new ways such as through becoming a Fostering Friendly employer and supporting our fantastic foster carers will help us do just that and support us in keeping children locally in the city. 

“When is the right time to do something different? There really is no typical foster carer. Anyone can come forward and make such a big difference in a child’s life regardless of age, gender, religious or cultural background, sexual orientation or if you are married, single or divorced. If you would like to know more about becoming a foster carer in Stoke-on-Trent visit www.fostering.stoke.gov.uk or call our friendly team on 01782 234555.”  

If you are a local business and are interested in becoming Fostering Friendly, get in touch with Kate.Bailey@stoke.gov.uk or Sarah.Havill@stoke.gov.uk to learn more. They will then share more detailed information about the initiative and support your HR lead to adapt your policies to align with the Fostering Friendly initiative.
 

Stoke-on-Trent City Council is urging its residents to think about emergency fostering as over 900 children are currently in care across the city.

The city council is looking for people who have weekends or spare evenings free and want to make a difference to a child’s life.

Emergency foster placements are needed when children and young people need to be placed in emergency foster care, particularly when there's an immediate risk of harm at home. This can be where a child comes into care late in the evening or over the weekend. Emergency fostering is usually for just a night or two but can be for a little while longer.

Maggie Young who has been an emergency foster carer for Stoke-on-Trent City Council for one year said: “I have always been interested in fostering and wanted to give something back, however I am single and work full-time so emergency fostering suits my lifestyle best. By being an emergency foster carer, I am able to provide a child with a safe and loving home for a night or two whilst a social worker finds them a suitable placement.”

No matter how often a person can foster - emergencies only, short term or weekends, foster carers are immensely needed. The service is aspiring to recruit up to 36 new foster carers in 2022, but would welcome many more.

Councillor Dave Evans, cabinet member for children and young people said: “We are incredibly lucky in Stoke-on-Trent to have so many extraordinary people fostering for us, supporting children and other carers across our city. There are no words that do them justice, and I am in awe of everything they do for young people. But we need more, the difference you can make to our young people cannot be overstated: you can change a life. As a foster carer, you will have an opportunity to make a positive difference to the lives of children. We will provide you with all the support needed to build a brighter future for children and young people across Stoke-on-Trent.”

If you would like to know more about becoming a foster carer in Stoke-on-Trent call 01782 234555. 

The fostering team have some events taking place in March to give people an insight into being a foster carer, including:

  • Informal drop-in sessions at Starbucks, Wolstanton on Tuesday 15 March, 6:30pm to 8pm and at Starbucks, Smallthorne on Thursday 24 March, 10am to 11:30am.
  • Facebook Live chat on emergency foster carers on the city council’s Facebook page on Monday 14 March at 10:30am with Councillor Dave Evans, cabinet member for children and young people, and Kate Bailey, the council’s fostering service manager.
Starbucks Smallthorne 10:00 - 11:30 Starbucks Wolstanton 18:30 - 20:00
Tuesday 18th January 2022 Thursday 13th January 2022
Wednesday 16th Februay 2022 Wednesday 9th February 2022
Thursday 24th March 2022 Tuesday 15th March 2022
Friday 8th April 2022 Monday 25th April 2022
Monday 23rd May 2022 Thursday 12th May 2022
Tuesday 21st June 2022 Wednesday 15th June 2022

Help change a life this Christmas by fostering a child in need of a loving home.

No matter how often you can foster - short term, weekends or emergencies only, we need you. We just ask that you have a spare bedroom and lots of love in your heart.

Help us keep our children in the city.

Local organisations Stoke City FC and bet365 have joined Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s Fostering Friendly ethos by becoming Fostering Friendly.

The two organisations, which combined employ over 4000 staff, have implemented a fostering friendly HR policy and have been awarded the status by the Fostering Network. The Potters are the first professional football club in England that the Fostering Network has recognised as foster friendly.

A fostering friendly employer is an organisation or business that helps employees who are foster carers or who want to become foster carers. Members of the scheme agree to put in place a fostering friendly HR policy for all foster carers in their employment. Help could include having policies that offer foster carers flexible working or paid time off for child care training, fostering-related meetings, or settling a new child into their home.

Chief Executive Tony Scholes said: “We understand the vital role that foster carers play in the lives of children and young people, many of whom will be some of the most vulnerable members of our community.

“We are delighted to have joined the Foster Friendly initiative with bet365 and look forward to helping foster carers, as well as potential foster carers, among our staff to fulfil such a rewarding and important role in society.”

Bob Munro, Group Chief Human Resources Officer for bet365, commented: “We are delighted as a Group to be supporting this vitally important initiative, which further cements our commitment to the community within which we operate”.

Alongside this Stoke City FC have pledged to support the fostering service in the city by offering traineeships and job opportunities to both looked after children and foster carers birth children in the city.

Councillor Abi Brown, leader of the city council said: “We’re proud to be a Fostering Friendly council and are thrilled that Stoke City FC and bet365 have now joined the initiative. Last year Unitas joined the scheme, so it is great another two organisations based in the city have come on-board. We hope that this will motivate other local organisations to join our Fostering Friendly ethos.”

Councillor Dave Evans, cabinet member for children and young people said: “Fostering requires a high level of commitment; therefore employers offering the carers among its staff greater flexibility and time off to support them on their foster carer journey for Stoke-on-Trent City Council, is fantastic. Foster carers play a vital role and it's important that employers give them the assistance they need.”

Adam Walker, a foster carer for Stoke-on-Trent City Council and a lifelong Stoke City FC supporter said: “I have been a supporter of Stoke City FC since I was a young lad so it’s great to see them working in partnership with the city council on fostering.

“We became foster carers in February this year and haven’t looked back since! Our children are now grown-up so we decided it was the right time in our lives to take on this new journey and make a positive impact. I resigned from my fulltime role working for the NHS to commit completely and so far fostering has been nothing but rewarding. The fostering team have been great and supportive.”

A forever unbreakable love

A poem by Issy

We may not technically be related
At least, not by blood
But we can become closer than anyone
Closer than anyone could

I will never forget the first time it happened
That tiny little angel, 
looking up at me,
an empty void of nothingness
And I knew in an instant,
that I was going to fo everything in my power
To giver her all the love, and the hope, and the happiness that she hadn't been given
To give her the future that she deserved

Waves of emotions hit me
Deep pools of sorrow,
happiness, empathy, anger
But most importantly... love

The love for a child that,
you have never met before
Never even seen before
But and unbreakable love
One that will change their life,their perspectives, their changes, their future

That's a power I never thought I could have at such a young age
An ability I would never give up in a million years
And a gift that I am grateful for each and every day of my life

Of course, it is heart-breaking at the end of the journey
But it is overpowered with the most rewarding feeling in the world
That without you, they would never have experienced the true meaning
Of home, of family, of happiness
Of a forever unbreakable love


image illustrating key points in the fostering journey, meet the team, check eligibility and applyUnderstand fostering and introduce yourself to the team Meet the team and complete the assessment Work with us as we find the right placement for you Your fostering journey has just begun