Putting the pieces back together
Published Wednesday 16th May 12
Artist unveils jigsaw mural for Fostering Fortnight and launch of information events.
Talented South Yorkshire artist Fauna Graphic has spoken for hundreds of young people by creating a jigsaw mural in Rotherham 's town centre.
Each of the pieces of the jigsaw represented the different elements required to make a difference in a child or young person's life - by becoming a foster carer.
The artwork was unveiled by the Mayor of Rotherham Councillor Shaun Wright, as part of Foster Care Fortnight, which runs from Monday, 14th May until Sunday, 27th May, 2012.
Rotherham Borough Council is choosing national Foster Care Fortnight to appeal for more people to consider providing homes for teenagers, as well as younger children.
In the UK , a child comes into care and needs a foster family every 22 minutes. The Fostering Network reports that around two-fifths of children in care in the UK are aged 11 to 15. In Rotherham , there are currently 375 looked after children, 276 of which are in foster care. Of these, a third are teenagers.
Councillor Paul Lakin, Cabinet Member for Safeguarding Children and Adults said: "A significant number of children who need foster carers are teenagers, both girls and boys. Teenagers are often hard to place and though finding them a home may be more difficult, they have a lot to offer when a loving foster home welcomes them.
"Too many teenagers have to live with foster carers a long way from home, move too frequently and change schools at a crucial time in their education as we don't have enough foster carers and currently need at least 35 more.
"Some will be living in a children's home when foster care has been identified as their best option. This is a real shame given that those who have had the experience of fostering teenagers will contest that although fostering teenagers can be very demanding, it is also immensely rewarding."
Age is no barrier to fostering but there is a need for younger carers to carry out specific work. Anyone over 21 who has a spare bedroom can apply to become a foster carer and all receive dedicated support, training and a competitive financial package.
Diversity in the backgrounds and life experiences of potential foster carers is valued; foster carers may be married, single, in a same sex relationship, disabled, have children or not, rent their home or may be retired.
"Few challenges are as rewarding as fostering. It offers the best chance of security and holds the key to a child's future, well being and happiness. For the child, foster families can provide a secure and loving family life and help turn a looked after child's potential into reality," adds Councillor Lakin.
Anyone interested in fostering is invited to the following information events, where you can meet Rotherham Borough Council's fostering team, existing carers, and find out more about how they could begin their fostering career.
Thursday, 17th May, 2012, 1pm to 6pm
The Brookfield Centre, Swinton
The Sue Walker Centre, Kiveton Park
Thursday, 24th May, 2012, 1pm to 6pm
Stepping Stones Children's Centre, Maltby
Kimberworth Children's centre, Kimberworth
You can also find out more by contacting Rotherham Borough Council's fostering team on 01709 823976.