Brighter futures thanks to Wakefield’s foster carers
Jane and Mark Robinson, Wakefield foster carers
Wakefield Council is calling for more foster carers to come forward and change a child's future as it marks this year's Foster Care Fortnight (13-26 May).
Every 20 minutes another child comes into care needing a foster family in the UK, with an estimated 8,100 new fostering families needed to meet the demand. In Yorkshire and the Humber, that means around 720 new foster carers are required.
Cllr Richard Forster, Wakefield's Council's Deputy Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: "All of us can remember people or experiences in our lives that changed our future for the better. Every day, foster carers give love and support to children and young people at a time when they need it most.
"Some children only stay with a foster family for a few days, while others will live with their foster family for their entire childhood and beyond."
Jane and Mark Robinson started fostering six years ago and have looked after six children in full-time placements as well as offering short break care for others. Their own children were aged 14 and 10 when they began fostering, and have always been involved, developing new skills and understanding along the way.
Jane explained: "Fostering definitely changed our family's future in so many ways. Our children have always been really positive about us fostering and they both helped out with the babies. Our daughter is now studying childcare at college and she's a natural - she's learned so much from being part of a fostering family.
Mark added: "You definitely need to be strong because it's an emotional rollercoaster. Of course it's difficult saying goodbye so we try to focus on the bigger picture - it's incredibly rewarding knowing that the children are moving on to a bright future. Our family just keeps on expanding; we keep in touch with the children we've cared for and it's amazing to hear how they're doing."
The couple also spend their time running their charity, Tiny Hands Baby Bank Yorkshire. They started it two years ago after receiving clothing and other baby essentials from friends and family to support their fostering. The charity collects donations of clothing, equipment, toys and books for young children, passing them on to local families in need.
Cllr Forster praised foster carers like Jane and Mark and encouraged others to consider changing a child's future: "Fostering changes the lives of foster carers and their families as well as the children they care for.
"We warmly encourage anyone who is thinking about becoming a foster carer to get in touch with us so that they too can offer children and young people a brighter future. Our fostering team is here to support you every step of the way."
To find out more visit www.wakefield.gov.uk/fostering or call 0800 197 0320.