FCA appeals for new carers to find room to foster

  |  Published: Jul 27th 2015
Finding time to foster - FCA foster carer and ex RAF engineer David Churchyard
Finding time to foster - FCA foster carer and ex RAF engineer David Churchyard

One of the UK’s leading independent fostering agencies has launched a new recruitment campaign to address the shortage of foster carers across Thames Valley.

Called ‘Finding Room to Foster’ the campaign draws on the moments when carers from  Foster Care Associates (FCA) the region found that unique time in their life to make the important  decision to foster – making room both emotionally and physically in his home.

FCA, who has a regional Thames Valley office in Wendover, has many carers in the region who have done just that including retired serviceman David Churchyard from Aylesbury who has been fostering with FCA for just over a year.

Having served as an engineer in the RAF for 38 years finishing his career at RAF Halton, Dave knew he wanted to continue to make a difference as he approached his retirement. When he came across information about the FCA’s partnership with the RAF, whereby placements are arranged with other military families for the children of serving personnel during short-term deployments, Dave experienced his lightbulb moment.

Dave said: “When I first heard about the scheme I thought ‘How fantastic! I immediately looked into it further and as I learned more about the non-RAF children out there also needing placements, and the training and the support network provided by FCA.

“My wife is still serving and her teenage son still lives with us in our family quarters, both my own sons are now living away at university. With all the spare room at home and the prospect of having lots of spare time on my hands, it suddenly became clear to me that fostering was the ‘something new’ I’d been looking for to fill it.”

Dave, together with his wife have looked after several children and young people on respite and short-term placements. “It’s been an incredibly enriching, rewarding experience and something I would wholeheartedly recommend to anyone with the room in their lives and their homes to do it.

“I knew I was in for a big change – my day to day life was certainly going to be very different to life in my work as an engineer, I knew I’d be constantly learning and so I am glad I started this exciting new chapter of my life.”

 Dave is one of many foster carers working with the FCA with a military background. He describes why he thinks this could be: “All across the military there’s a big focus on leadership, loyalty, patience, working as a team and looking out for each other – all skills and qualities that lend themselves well to fostering.”

Karen Bolton, registered manager, FCA Thames Valley, said:  “We’ve been working with children and young people for 21 years and our experience shows that one-to-one support in a family setting is the best way to help these children overcome their issues and deal with their past.  Our team of social care professionals work closely with our foster carers to deliver intensive, holistic support tailored to the individual needs of each young person and carer.

“We have some fabulous foster carers across Thames Valley and hope our ‘Finding Room to Foster’ campaign will encourage more people in the region to make room in their life and seriously consider becoming a foster carer.”

FCA provide ongoing comprehensive support to all foster carers including training, financial allowance, access to carer support groups and organised family activities – all contributing factors as to why FCA placements are 22% more stable than the national average.

For more information on becoming a foster carer with FCA call 0800 022 4012 or visit www.thefca.co.uk

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