WORKSOP residents are being encouraged to foster a child for short periods of time without a full-time commitment.
Notts County Council wants to hear from people who can spare anything from the odd overnight stay and weekend to a few weeks holiday cover.
With the number of children in care in the county at its highest level ever, the council is looking to recruit 12 more support foster carers by April.
Support carers offer a break to parents and children when families need time to recuperate. They also offer cover to full-time foster carers so they can get a break.
Sarah and Bryan Cherry from Worksop have been support carers since 2009. The couple, who both work full-time, have no children of their own.
A close friend suggested they apply as she felt they had the skills to look after children of all different ages.
Sarah and Bryan made enquiries in 2008 and were approved in March 2009 and had their first placement just two weeks later.
They said they knew from the very first placement they had made the right decision.
“To know that you make a difference to someone who’s had a really tough start in life, through no fault of their own, is rewarding beyond words,” said Sarah.
“To be able to show children that there are good people out there, who they trust and laugh with, is an amazing feeling.”
The couple have a welcome pack for when children come to stay to help them settle in. They get name badges for the bedroom doors, so that children feel they belong and try and make their stays as fun as possible.
“We’ve never thrown one away and so have quite a collection already,” said Sarah.
“We try to make support care fun. It’s the weekend and everyone likes to make the most of this time. We go to the cinema, ice skating, visit places of interest, and for walks. Seeing the children happy while they are in our care is an amazing feeling.”
The couple admit the assessment process can be daunting, but urge people not to let it deter them.
Brian said: “ It can be off putting and daunting at times, but for all the right reasons – the children have often been through enough and so they need to make sure that you are right for the role.”
“We would urge you not to let this put you off as it’s been well worth it in the long run.”
Sarah added: “It is one of the best decisions we have ever made and we would encourage anyone who has the time, love and compassion to share, to enquire.”
If you’re interested in becoming a support foster carer, get in touch with the council on 0845 301 8899 or find out more at www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/adoptionandfostering