Career change to foster caring

By on 31/07/2009 in News

Workers who have been made redundant are being urged to consider a career change as a foster carer in Birmingham - and benefit from a hike in fees of more than 100 per cent.

The Birmingham Fostering team is looking for up to 100 people with the right skills to plug a shortage of carers within the service.

The potential new career opportunity is being highlighted in the wake of a series of rises in the payment for entry-level foster carers.

Last year fees went up from £56.70 a week per place to £95.06 and Birmingham City Council has just approved a further jump to £138.74.

Jacquie Smith, manager for Birmingham's Fostering service, said becoming a foster carer for the service was now more worthwhile and rewarding than ever before.

“We have all seen and heard the headlines about firms going bust and growing unemployment in the current tough economic climate.

“At the same time we have a shortage of foster carers and an increasing number of carers approaching retirement age.

“So we are urging people who are looking for a career change – whether forced or of their own will – to consider becoming a foster carer.

“Those who qualify will join our team of dedicated professionals and benefit from their support as well as training opportunities.

“Anyone can consider becoming a foster carer with us as long as they are aged between 23 and 60 and live within a 25 mile radius of Birmingham.

“Fundamentally we are looking for people who are committed to caring for and helping some of our most vulnerable children have a better life.”

The search is being launched in the wake of figures released last month by Birmingham City Council showing a high proportion of foster carers are reaching retirement age.

The average age of a foster carer within the city is now 51 and nearly nine out of ten (86 per cent) are over the age of 40.

Individuals from all ethnic groups and ages are needed to provide foster care for children in Birmingham.

Those able to care for babies and toddlers - some of whom have been born with health issues - are particularly sought.

Foster children can be any age between birth and 17. New foster carers must be aged between 23 and 60 and live in or within a 25 mile radius of Birmingham.

The service currently has a shortage of carers for babies and toddlers who have been exposed to drug or alcohol during their mother's pregnancy or those who have complex needs.

There is also a shortage of carers for sibling groups, boys, children of mixed parentage and children with special needs.

For more information phone Birmingham City Council's Adoption and Fostering Team on 0121 303 7575 or email fostering@birmingham.gov.uk

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