CM08049/F
Broadly speaking, Wiltshire Council needs to recruit foster carers of all types, including specialisms. There is a need to recruit and assess carers who can care for challenging children (both younger children and adolescents) showing considerable skill and resilience.    There is a need to develop a pool of parent and child foster carers. These are foster carers who can look after a parent with their child, in the carer’s own home for an agreed time. There are two sorts of arrangement: support placements where the parent is more capable of looking after their child but needs some help, and assessment placements where concerns are higher and an assessment is needed for court.   There is a need to have a pool of STEPS (Short Term Emergency Placements Scheme) carers, ideally across the county who can look after children on a short term, emergency basis before helping to move them on to longer term placements or supporting their return home.   There is a need for specialist carers for children with disabilities or additional needs, requiring short break care as part of a wider support plan, and for people who can provide Supported Lodgings placements for older young people moving towards independence, care leavers and young people who are unaccompanied.   Wiltshire Council has approximately 440 children in care at any one time. In December 2017, there were approximately165 fostering households of all types and 185 children were living with foster carers.   Not all approved fostering places are available at any one time; carers may be unavailable because of ill health, changes in their family or they may be on holiday. We need to recruit another 120 households in the next three years to meet the need. This will ensure there are enough foster carers to look after children and meet our target of having 75% of children living with foster carers, to provide choice and flexibility about location and type of family and to provide long term placements that will support children to age 18 and beyond.    What are we doing and how can you help?   To help meet the three-year recruitment target, we have a refreshed “branding” aligned with the headline slogan: “Fostering makes a positive difference to a child’s life”. There are a series of messages that will help those who may be interested in fostering to understand what it means to them. For example:     Could you give a child love, warmth and a positive home life?   Do you have the time and space to offer a child a loving home?   Fostering can transform a child’s life and help them achieve their full potential.   Do you have room in your family for a child in need of a stable loving home? You can combine fostering with caring for your own children or working.   We need 36 new foster carers this year. Could you be one of them?   Could you care for a child in a crisis? We need short term, emergency foster carers   Could you guide and support a new mum? Foster carers are needed for new mother and babies that have no family support.    No other job loves you back the way fostering does.   Want a job that enables you to change the life of a young person?   In summary, the key aims and objectives for 2018-21 are as follows:     Recruit sufficient foster carers by 2021 (target approximately 120), so children who require foster placements can be placed locally and where possible, there is a choice of suitable placements for children   Ensure the timeliness of fostering recruitment, assessment and approval work   Recruit foster carers who can meet the individual needs of a child and provide placements that reflect or respect the child’s identity, ethnicity, culture, religion and language   Improve the retention of foster carers by supporting them in their role by making sure they are fully prepared, trained and supervised by an allocated qualified supervising social worker   Continue to reward foster carers in line with their skills and experience, recognising the