Today’s guest blog comes from Sarah Parker, Director of Children’s Services at Bristol City Council.
Fostering makes a tremendous difference to a child’s life. In Bristol we have 335 children who are in the care of our city’s foster carers. There are a myriad of reasons why children cannot live with their birth families, but when that does occur, we have the most wonderful people who are willing to step in and help.
For the next two weeks (9-22 May), we are shining a light and celebrating the amazing people across our city, and across the UK, who open their hearts and their homes to children who need a nurturing and loving home. Every year, we pause to recognise and thank our foster carers for the opportunity, support, and happiness they create for our children in care.
This year’s theme is #FosteringCommunities to celebrate the strength and resilience of fostering communities and all they do to ensure children are cared for and supported to thrive. Our Bristol fostering community is a big supportive family in itself. Our city carers – also referred to as our city ‘VIP’s’ not only care for our children, but also support each other and share skills and expertise across the network, like an extended family would. Our city carers also know how to have fun! Only last month our carers arranged a big city wide foster carers afternoon tea, and earlier this month was the annual foster carers dinner.
Our carers are a very diverse group – single men, same sex couples, retired people, black carers, they all represent the diversity of our city – and we are tremendously proud of each and every one of them, not only in how they support our children but also how they support each other as a community
Foster care is at the heart of our communities, enabling our city children to stay with foster families, local to everything they are familiar with already; their school, friends, routine and their city.
Whether you’re a foster carer, a social worker, young person or supporter of foster care you are part of a community making a real difference to the lives of young people, and we want to celebrate the impact you all have.
So, thank you – to our foster carers, during this fortnight – in celebration of you all, in your care and love of our children and each other.
If you are considering fostering and would like to have an informal chat with our Fostering Team, please call 0117 3534200 or visit our website for more information.