Individuals embarking on their foster care journey with Foster4Leeds are encouraging others to explore fostering opportunities if they have ever contemplated making a positive impact on a child’s life.

Several foster carers have shared their experiences and insights, underscoring the diverse backgrounds from which Foster4Leeds carers emerge. They shed light on the various types of foster care options available through the council, tailored to individual circumstances, and highlighted the invaluable support received from the Foster4Leeds service.

Joanna offers both short term and long term foster care, she said; “Since I was quite young, I always wanted to foster. I firmly agree that fostering with the local authority is best for the children, it means they can remain living in Leeds and they can stay at the same school.

“The assessment process for becoming a foster carer with Foster4Leeds is really good. I had lovely assessing social workers. They gave me plenty of information and the opportunity to make my own mind up about it.

“Fostering’s a bit of a roller coaster but I wouldn’t change it for a minute. There are difficult times but it’s really rewarding.”

Nick and Janine, working full time, currently provide supported lodgings for young people aged 16 and over, helping them prepare for independent living. Overcoming initial concerns about their work commitments, they contacted Foster4Leeds, discovering the flexibility of fostering options available.

Janine said; “My partner and I thought that we wouldn’t be able to do fostering because we both work full time, so we contacted Foster4Leeds because we’d heard they do different types of fostering.

“I don’t want people to hesitate to pick up the phone or fill in the interest form because you need to find out more information. If you’re interested in fostering, it’s just that first step forward.”

Foster4Leeds, Leeds City Council’s dedicated fostering service, is urging more individuals to consider fostering, especially with over 700 people already fostering through the service. Currently, 255 children and young people are placed in expensive external provision outside the Leeds area due to the shortage of available foster carers.

Councillor Fiona Venner, Leeds City Council’s executive member for adult and children’s social care and health partnerships, said; “Foster4Leeds is a 100% not-for-profit organisation that is committed to providing the best outcomes for looked after children in Leeds, including ensuring they are kept close to their birth families, friends, and school. Fostering comes in many forms and there is a type of fostering suitable for everyone, ranging from temporary care every once in a while, to longer-term placements.

“We welcome applications from any ethnic background, religion, and sexuality. It doesn’t matter if you are married, single or divorced, a homeowner or living in a rental property, in work or retired. All that matters is that you can give your time to help a child.

“I would urge anyone who is considering becoming a foster carer to get in touch with the Foster4Leeds team to find out what support they might be able to offer.”

Foster4Leeds offers financial and emotional support, including a dedicated social worker and access to training. Potential foster parents are invited to explore more about fostering with Foster4Leeds on their website: www.leeds.gov.uk/foster4leeds/carers