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How you can help transform a young person’s life

Date published: 2022-09-30 | Category: Children's Services, Improving people's lives, Focusing on prevention


There are so many paths to explore on your fostering journey

People in Bath and North East Somerset are being asked to consider if they could open their home to a child or young person in need of a stable family.

With an ever-growing number of children and young people needing foster care or supported lodgings in the area, Bath & North East Somerset Council is highlighting the many ways in which residents might be able to help as part of its Transform a Child’s Life campaign.

The council is responsible for finding around 100 placements for children and young people every year, but the figure is steadily increasing, with demand having grown by around 40% in the last eight years.

There are currently 21 children or young people in B&NES needing a home. This includes nine single children, the majority of whom are teenagers, as well as three groups of siblings and two unaccompanied asylum seekers.

The council is currently running a social media campaign to explain the nine different options that are available to people wanting to open their homes:

  • Fostering families
  • Fostering teenagers
  • Fostering siblings
  • Supported Lodgings
  • Parent & child
  • Respite
  • Family link
  • Fostering unaccompanied asylum-seeking children

Through the Supported Lodgings scheme, young people in education, employment or training can rent a room in a stable family home for up to three years. The Supported Lodgings provider helps them to learn the skills they need to live independently, from cooking and washing to managing money.

Current supported lodgings provider Rosie, who has had eight young people lodging with her over the last six years, says: “We decided to open our home to young people because our children were growing up and we were going to become empty nesters as they gradually went off to university. Originally, we started with local young people, aged around 17 and 18, so they were a similar age to our youngest child. Since then, we have had four young asylum seekers. B&NES has a special social worker to support with unaccompanied children, who is brilliant.

“It’s rewarding when you see someone you’ve cared for doing well and living independently. Your role as the supported lodgings provider is to carve out some space and a pathway to help them learn the skills they need to be able to live an independent, successful and flourishing life. And we hope we can help them make some lovely memories along the way.”

Foster care placements are for babies and children up to 18 years and Supported Lodgings placements are for 16 to 23-year-olds. The council supports placements for babies and young children, teenagers and young adults, children with complex needs requiring respite care, unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, same day crisis placements, young families, siblings and short-term and longer-term placements.

Councillor Dine Romero, cabinet member for Children and Young People, and Communities, said: “We have some fantastic carers looking after young people in our area at the moment, but the unfortunate reality is that we always need more. People often wrongly assume that they can’t foster if they don’t own their home, or perhaps because they are single or consider themselves too old. None of those things prevent you from being involved.

“There are so many options available to people that are willing to open their home to a child or young person. Through our campaign we aim to show the range of paths you can take, so that people can see how it could work for them.”

To find out more about the council’s fostering service, visit https://fostering.bathnes.gov.uk/ 

To find out more about the Supported Lodgings scheme, visit https://beta.bathnes.gov.uk/supported-lodgings-0

ENDS