Celebrating Lancashire's amazing sons and daughters
Friday, October 1, 2021
Lancashire County Council is highlighting the valuable role that the birth children of foster carers play as part of the annual Fostering Network's national Sons and Daughters month.
A new campaign has been launched today (Friday, 1 October), to celebrate and recognise children and young people for the important role they play in welcoming fostered children into their families. The campaign will run throughout October.
Joanne Gregoire has been a foster carer with the county council for seven years. Whilst looking after her three birth children, Joanne has also fostered over 30 children. Joanne said: "Fostering is very much a family affair with me. Everyone helps out and contributes in their own way to make sure that birth and fostered children have the best possible experience together.
"Many people thinking about fostering could be concerned about the potential impact on their own children. My children are testament to the positive impact that growing up in a fostering family can have. I've found that birth children play a vital role in helping foster children to adjust to their new environment, and can become a mentor figure helping a foster child to settle into their home and meet new friends.
"My children have certainly benefitted and learned a lot through being part of the support network of the children and young people that we have cared for. They have even made some friends for life!"
Fostering is a whole family approach and for most sons and daughters of foster carers, their relationships with fostered children have many positive aspects.
They gain companionship, friendship and a sense of self-worth in sharing their homes with children who need them.
Courtney, who has grown up in a fostering family for the last 14 years, knows first hand the impact that being part of a fostering family can have. Courtney, who is now 18, said: "Being a part of a fostering family can sometimes be daunting but it is also rewarding because we get to help those who are less fortunate than us and provide them with a safe place to live and give them experiences that they may not have managed to have if they still lived at home.
"A few different support networks are available for sons and daughters. I myself have had a lot of support from a support worker who has helped me through a lot of situations within my life and I’m very grateful for her. We also have the support of our sons and daughters’ group which helped a lot as we were able to meet young people that are in a fostering family and talk about things and have fun away from the fostering side of things. It is nice sometimes to get a break away from it now and again but I have had some amazing memories with my foster sisters."
County Councillor Cosima Towneley, cabinet member for children and families, said: "We would like to say thank you to all the children of our foster carers and celebrate the important contribution they make to foster care.
"Sons and daughters of foster carers are unsung heroes and we want each and every child and young person who grows up as part of a fostering family to know just how important they are.
"This campaign is an opportunity to recognise, thank, and reward children and young people for the important role they play in welcoming fostered children into their families, homes and lives.
"The sons and daughters of foster carers play an essential role in welcoming fostered children into their families and are an important part in the lives of the others in care. They often become role models, mentors and supporters of the children who come to be a part of their family.
"The reality is that many children benefit from being part of the support network offered by a fostering family to a fostered child. Seeing life from another’s perspective can be an enriching experience and can help a child learn and develop as an individual.
"We will be sending a thank you card to every son or daughter this month, as a small token of our appreciation. If you think you have what it takes to foster then please get in touch, or you could attend our event on Wednesday 20 October to find out more."
An online information event for people thinking about fostering will be held on Wednesday 20 October from 6pm to 8pm. Staff will be available from the fostering recruitment team, as well as foster carers. The event will include a brief talk to outline the process, followed by a Q and A session.
To find out more visit www.lancashire.gov.uk/fostering or call our friendly team on 0300 123 6723.
Caring for vulnerable children is one of Lancashire County Council's highest priorities, and its fostering team are available 24/7 to offer support and advice.
Foster carers also have access to their own social worker, a dedicated helpline and flexible training that is local to where they live.
There is also a generous allowance for new foster carers, who can expect to receive between £250 and £428 per week for each child they care for.
Lancashire County Council welcomes new foster carers from all different backgrounds.
Foster carers need to be over 21 and have a spare room available by the end of the assessment process.
More information about recruitment events is available on the council's website and posted on social media.