Celebration for people who have helped change children’s lives

Foster carers from across Dorset have been recognised at an awards ceremony in Weymouth.

three people stood by blue and white balloons
Theresa Leavy, Cllr Andrew Parry and Yvette Stanley

The glittering ceremony was organised by Dorset Council to recognise the hard work and dedication of foster carers in the county.

Awards were given out to those who had been foster carers for a significant length of time including one for someone who had been a foster carer for 49 years.

Yvette Stanley, Ofsted national director for social care, was the keynote speaker for the event. She said: ‘It’s a pleasure to be somewhere that shows rightful appreciation to people who are so dedicated to looking after children in our care. Fostering is such a crucial role and so this is a night about celebrating and looking forward.

‘It has been lovely talk to everyone tonight and I’d like to say very well done to you all for your commitment to Dorset’s children.’

During the evening, guests heard some of the things that children said ‘made their foster carer amazing’:

  • They are always there when I need them and they make me feel like I am part of the family
  • They show me new experiences and support me when I try new things
  • They paint with me and take me to the park. They help me do the activities I want to do
  • They’re trustworthy. If I am worried about something, they make me feel better
  • They make me smile and love me. They care for me and look after other children

Dorset Council currently has almost 200 fostering families who provide a stable home for a young person and give them a chance to lead a safe and fulfilled life. Sadly, every 20 minutes a child comes into care in need of a foster family in the UK and there are still not enough families in Dorset for the county’s children.

Andrew Parry, portfolio holder for children, education, skills and early help, said: ‘Lockdown has been a tough time and I take my hat off to everyone who has rallied round our children, thank you for everything you have done to support them.

‘Our focus is on keeping local children close to their schools, friends and birth families. Thanks to our local knowledge, good connections to essential services and 24/7 wrap around support, we’re best placed to find great foster carers for children and young people across Dorset, but we always need more.

‘If you think you could consider fostering, please contact the team. You don’t need to commit yourself at this early stage.’

Dorset Council wants to hear from people from all walks of live who are interested in fostering. You just need to be over 21 years old and have a spare bedroom. There’s no upper age limit to fostering and plenty of Dorset’s foster carers live in rented homes.

Some of the carers have their own children and some have never had children, but Dorset Council will provide all newly approved carers with a training and support package to equip them with all the skills and knowledge they need to become great foster carers.

Anyone who is interested in fostering can find out more from the website www.fosterwithdorsetcouncil.com or call 01305 225568.

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