A South Tyneside couple are pledging their support to a campaign aimed at encouraging more people to think about fostering.
Allison Rollins and Brian Owen have been foster carers for South Tyneside Council for nine years and are backing Foster Care Fortnight which runs from May 13 to 26.
The theme of this year’s campaign is about changing futures - something the couple, from South Shields, are proud to say they achieved, not only for the youngsters in their care, but also for themselves.
Postman Brian, 45, said: “Watching the children you care for grow, develop in confidence, do well at school and achieve things is amazing.
“While fostering can be tough at times, we have found that nothing is more rewarding. The feeling you get from seeing a child in your care experience and achieve something they may not have had the opportunity to do is so uplifting.”
South Tyneside Council runs a payment for skills model which means foster carers are paid an additional fee according to their experience and qualifications in addition to the weekly allowance payments.
Alison, 51, has taken advantage of this training and is now a Level 3 carer, meaning she can look after children with more challenging needs.
She said: “We started fostering because we wanted to give something back and do some good.
“Being foster carers gives us the opportunity to help others, but it has given us more back in so many ways through experiences and memories.”
The council is looking for more people who can offer a stable, loving home to children – particularly those in sibling groups – who cannot be with their birth family.
Foster carers can be married or same sex couples or single but must be aged at least 25.
They are offered extensive support and training and receive an allowance to provide for the child in their care.
Coun Moira Smith, lead member for children, young people and families, said: “Our foster carers play a hugely important role. While fostering should not be undertaken lightly, the rewards are immense. I would encourage anyone thinking of fostering to find out the facts.”
To find out more, go to www.southtyneside.gov.uk/fostering or call 0191 423 8500 Monday to Friday during office hours.