Make this your biggest new year resolution – become a foster carer

OLDHAM Council’s fostering service is keen to hear from anyone able to offer a home to a local child or young person, especially those who are able to look after a child on a long-term basis and take care of siblings.

Mick and Sharon Stacey-foster carers

The service supports around 200 fostering families, providing placements for around 316 children.

Sharon and Mick Stacey have been fostering since 2012 and care for three brothers and sisters on a long-term basis.

Sharon said: “I became interested in fostering whilst working in a children’s residential home.

“I’ve worked with lots of young people who were desperate for a chance to live with a family, but the shortage of foster carers prevented them from having that chance.

“We have always enjoyed being around children and young people and wanted to give someone a chance to be a part of our family.”

Sharon and Mick have provided a home where three siblings feel safe, settled, wanted and loved without the fear of having to move again.

There are lots of different types of fostering to suit your home and family and Oldham Council will support potential carers throughout the whole process.

Sharon added: “We believe it is important for children to know that they are with their carers for the long term, as this helps them feel secure.

“It also helps them to build a good relationship with their carers and increase their self-esteem knowing that someone wants them to be part of the family.

“Keeping brothers and sisters together is also vital and what most children and young people would want if they were asked.

“It is a massive thing for a child or young person to live away from their family and being split up from their siblings as well is a huge wrench for any child.

Mick said “Fostering is one of the most rewarding things that you can do, but it can be challenging at times.

“Please don’t be put off by other people or things you might read about children in care. In our experience these children just need to feel loved and wanted, they need consistency and structure and they need your patience and time.”

You can apply to foster regardless of marital status, sexuality, race or religion, or whether you are in work or have a disability. All the fostering service ask is that you are over 21, enjoy working with children and have room in your home.

Carers receive a tailored support package, plus payments and allowances up to £29,000 per year (dependent on skills and experience).

Call 0161 770 6600 or visit www.oldham.gov.uk/fostering to find out more.

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