Council aims to dispel myths on potential foster parents

Parkside Chart Way Horsham - Horsham District Council and West Sussex County Council SUS-150723-162029001
Parkside Chart Way Horsham - Horsham District Council and West Sussex County Council SUS-150723-162029001

Aspiring foster parents are being urged not to rule themselves out because of a number of myths putting people off before they start the process.

West Sussex County Council is highlighting the fact that anyone who has a spare room and the desire to make a difference has the potential to give a child a loving home.

One myth the fostering team is keen to dispel is that there is an upper age limit to fostering. In fact, as long as you are reasonably fit and in relatively good health there could be an opportunity to foster.

Kirsty Hanna, group manager for fostering recruitment at WSCC, said: “Retired people quite often say to us that they think they’re too old to foster.

“In fact, they can be perfect mentors for young people.

“Our supported lodgings scheme enables young people to learn life skills in a safe environment and the older generation are excellent at providing this type of support.”

Other myths include:

• You cannot foster if you work. FALSE. We consider every person’s current commitments and family set up carefully in order to find fostering opportunities that are suitable.

• You have to be in a relationship to foster. FALSE. Single, co-habiting, married, and those in same sex relationships are all welcomed.

• You can only foster if you own your own home. FALSE. All we ask is for you to have a stable tenancy and that your landlord is happy for you to foster.

Stephen Hillier, WSCC’s cabinet member for children - start of life, said: “Many working people would like to give something back to their communities and we find that people who work can do a wonderful job by offering respite to existing foster carers or to birth parents who have a child with disabilities.

“We are also keen to find people from a variety of cultural backgrounds as the children who come into our care are from many different backgrounds and we also need to support young asylum seeking children who find themselves alone in this country.”

There are currently around 650 children in West Sussex in foster care.

An information evening is taking place on Tuesday September 20 at Parkside (formerly County Hall North) Chart Way in Horsham from 6.30pm.

Or for more information and to find out other upcoming dates, visit www.westsussex.gov.uk/fostering or call 0330 2227775.

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