Becoming a foster carer can be an exciting but sometimes daunting prospect, but it needn’t be when there is so much help and support available.

If you have a safe, stable family home life and want to dedicate your time to taking care of babies, children and young people in the area, there’s no need to feel worried or anxious about the application process. You will likely have a long list of questions that need answers in order for you to decide whether fostering is right for you.

The dedicated recruitment team at Foster4 can help. The service was set up specifically to alleviate these concerns and provide specialist, non-judgemental advice about becoming a foster carer with your local authority. You won’t be pressured into fostering and once you start the journey, you will be well-supported every step of the way by a knowledgeable and friendly fostering support worker.

Here are a few of the Foster4 recruitment team’s top tips to help you start the process:

• Do as much research as you can. There is a wealth of information available online. The Fostering Network, Gov.uk and of course, the foster4.co.uk website and Facebook, Instagram and Twitter social media pages @Foster4Cheshire are great places to start. Speak to people who you may know who have fostered and get as much insight as possible.

• Speak to your family. It’s true that the whole family fosters, so partners and children if you have them, need to be on board. Start initial conversations early and involve them in your research. If they have any specific queries, note them down and Foster4 will be able to chat through them with you.

• Make your enquiry. Sometimes, taking the first step can be the hardest part. Submitting an enquiry with Foster4 is incredibly easy. Simply fill out the short form at www.foster4.co.uk/enquire or call 01925 444100. Tell Foster4 a little bit about yourself and you’ll be emailed an information pack within one working day. The pack will be specific to your chosen local authority (usually the one you live in or closest to you), and will contain everything you need to inform and inspire you. There is information about the expectations of the role as well as the 24/7 local support and specific break downs of the allowances you will receive.

• Think about the skills and experience you have. Write them down. They could include anything from parenting to working with children to being brought up in a fostering household. A member of the Foster4 team will then give you a call to discuss your enquiry further. This is your opportunity to shine! Tell us all about your these skills, your experience and what you think you could bring to a child’s life. During this conversation, you can also discuss any concerns you may have, perhaps with your own family history, health or lifestyle. Foster4 really have heard it all before. There’s no such thing as a ‘perfect’ foster carer. Foster4 are looking for good, honest people, who have life experience. Foster4 know that families can often be complicated, and people are sometimes concerned about speaking about this. Everything will be dealt with in utmost confidence.

• Attend a virtual ‘become a foster carer information session’. Foster4 is currently running these online, twice per month via Microsoft Teams. You don’t need to have Teams installed on your computer or even be very familiar with online meetings. Once you make your enquiry and have had a conversation with a fostering support worker, you will be invited to attend a meeting and will be emailed a link to join.

You will now be well on your way to becoming a foster carer. After attending the session, if you’re ready, you can complete an ‘expression of interest form’ to give Foster4 more detailed information about you and your family. Foster4 will then hand over to the Cheshire West and Chester, Halton or Warrington Fostering Team, who will undertake your full assessment, and Foster4 will continue to support you throughout.

Dance craze sweeps Foster4’s carers and fostering team

Fostering services across the country have been getting involved with the latest dance craze in a bid to raise awareness of fostering.

The Jerusalema challenge is a group dance performed to a gospel influenced house song by South African producer Master KG and with vocals from singer songwriter Nomcebo.

While the song is performed in Zulu it went viral earlier this year after Fenomenos do Semba, a group in Angola, recorded themselves dancing to the song while eating and without dropping their plates.

Organisations from around the world have attempted the dance challenge including members of staff from Virgin Atlantic and police officers from Ireland and Switzerland.

Winsford Guardian:

The fostering version is a relay campaign spearheaded by Northumberland County Council and foster carers, staff and senior managers from Foster4’s teams across Cheshire West and Chester, Halton and Warrington have recorded their attempt at Walton Gardens in Warrington.

The local team was challenged by Liverpool City Council and have now passed the baton onto Reading Council (Brighter Futures For Children).

The video of the Foster4 challenge is available at www.foster4.co.uk/blogs