Foster Care Fortnight, an annual campaign that aims to raise awareness of fostering while celebrating the amazing work that foster carers do.
Foster4Leeds, Leeds City Council’s dedicated fostering service, are 100% not-for-profit and are committed to providing the very best outcomes for looked after children in Leeds. The number of people fostering with the council has grown significantly in the last 10 years but, unfortunately, there is still a large gap in the number of children in need of a safe home and the number of foster carers available to help them.
Leeds couple, Imtiaz and Jabeen Khan, who have been foster carers for over 15 years, are encouraging other families to consider offering a safe, loving home to children who need it. The couple, who have three children of their own, state they believe fostering has made them more grounded and compassionate as they’ve learnt first-hand how unfortunate and tragic some children’s lives can be.
“The first child that we undertook the responsibility to look after was an 11- year-old-girl. The child was suffering from neglect and came from a home with a history of domestic violence” says Imtiaz. “Since then we have looked after 14 children who have had varying reasons for being vulnerable. Each child came to us needing safety and security with people who could care for them in a manner they needed and wanted”.
The couple have found their experiences worthwhile, with Imtiaz saying “I would recommend fostering to people who have the space in their home to help children who need it and be the positive influence in these children’s lives. It is not always an easy task, but it is an extremely rewarding one knowing you can make a difference in helping a child overcome whatever trauma that happened in their lives.”
Foster carers play an important role in our community and many carers say that fostering is one of the most rewarding things they have done, giving them a sense of purpose as they help to transform young lives. There are many different types of fostering to suit individual lifestyles, from temporary care every once in a while to long-term placements.
This foster care fortnight, the council are encouraging anyone who has ever considered fostering to please get in touch. By fostering with a local council, children are able to remain in their local area, where they feel comfortable and can attend the same school. There is an urgent need for more foster carers in Leeds, particularly for children aged 11+, sibling groups and those with additional needs.
Councillor Fiona Venner, Leeds City Council’s executive member responsible for children and families said:
“Foster carers do an amazing job and make a real difference to the lives of vulnerable children and young people in communities across our city.
“Fostering can be an incredibly rewarding experience and I would like to reassure anyone who is thinking of becoming a foster carer, that on each of your journeys, we will be here to offer you meaningful and specialist support.”
Foster carers are paid a weekly allowance and fee by Leeds City Council, including expenses, as well as being given an emotional support package and many other benefits. To find out more, please visit www.foster4leeds.co.uk