A SPECIALIST fostering scheme has been helping families in crisis over the festive period.
The Fostering Emergency Support Programme (FESP), launched by West Sussex County Council, aims to work intensively with the family, the child and the foster carer to return children to their families within three months.
The programme has seen a 30 per cent increase in demand for its work with families in the past year.
Cabinet member for children and families, Peter Evans, said: “The economic climate we live in does mean that, for some families, the festive season can be a very stressful time.
“Family crises do happen but West Sussex County Council’s FESP means families can resolve their difficulties and prevent young people remaining in care unnecessarily.
“The intensive work done by the FESP with the family and young person means that relationships are improved so a family breakdown in the future can be averted.”
FESP foster carer, Candy Warner, says: “I really enjoy being a FESP foster carer because I feel very much part of a professional team.
“We all work together for the common aim – solving the issues so the child in my care can return to their family.
“Most of the children I’ve looked after are aged 10 plus.
“Although there are certain issues between themselves and their parents, I have never experienced them when they stay with me.
“Through the tools and skills learnt on the programme you do see a change in both the family and the child.
“That’s fantastic to see and know you have been played a part in getting the family back together.”
Anyone interested in fostering children or young people can call the fostering recruitment team on 01403 229333 or visit [http://www.westsussex.gov.uk/fostering|www.westsussex.gov.uk/fostering}.