Jersey’s Government has launched a major campaign to urgently recruit foster carers.
Alongside the campaign, a research project is underway to investigate the barriers to prevent people from considering fostering.
The campaign features the life of an intensive foster carer, who has shared her story to encourage Islanders to consider becoming a foster carer, to help change a child’s life.
Foster carers provide homes for children who are unable to live with their parent(s). Foster care placements can last from a weekend (for short break or emergency placements), to years (for long term placements).
Foster carers can access a range of support and training to help them fulfil their role. This includes support with the additional costs of caring.
Sarah Cohen (pictured), an intensive foster carer, who is the face of the Government campaign, said: “When I asked my foster child why they think people should foster, the reply was to give a child a home. For me it’s as simple as that.
“There are too many children in Jersey needing a family. I was lucky enough to come from a loving one and now all my children have grown up, I knew I wanted to give something back.
“I have fostered all age groups. The satisfaction of watching a baby meet all its milestones, or when a youngster stops offending or going missing and you can help get them back into school is incredibly rewarding.
“I love being a foster carer, every day is different, when they make small steps forward, you’re making a big difference. You can really change someone’s life for the better, by giving them a chance.”
Alongside the campaign, the Department for Children, Young People, Education and Skills is working with 4Insight to understand attitudes, motivations and barriers to fostering.
Minister for Children and Education, Deputy Scott Wickenden, said: “Foster carers are vital – they care for some of the most vulnerable children in our Island. In doing so, they expose themselves to situations that many of us would think are beyond us. And they do that help change a child’s life.
“We urgently need more people to come forward to be foster carers, especially for short-term foster placements. As we expected, we’ve seen the demand for care increase: we’re now seeing more children on ‘the edge of care’ as the pressures of Covid-19 are being felt by families.
“At the same time, we need to ensure we have a consistent supply of foster carers. To do this, we’ll be working with 4Insight to learn more about what qualities, personality traits, and characteristics our current foster carers have in common.
“This will allow us to review how we recruit and retain foster carers, and ensure that more children in Jersey have a safe, loving home.”