A NEW charter giving more recognition to foster carers has been launched in the city.
As part of Fostering Fortnight, which runs until next Friday, Sunderland City Council has adopted the Government’s new Foster Carers’ Charter.
The Charter not only provides foster carers with a clear picture of what level of practical and financial support and help they can expect, but also gives recognition of their contribution to the lives of the children and young people in their care and to the community.
In addition to the charter, which was published in March, Sunderland City Council recently introduced its own new career development programme for carers, which recognises and rewards their commitment.
The programme supports carers with training and personal development and provides opportunities to become involved in recruitment events and mentoring new foster carers.
Executive director of children’s services, Keith Moore, and portfolio holder for children and learning city, Coun Pat Smith, met representatives of Sunderland’s foster carers at the Civic Centre.
Coun Smith said: “The council welcomes this charter. By adopting it we are agreeing to reflect the spirit and the intentions of the charter in our actions.
“We value our foster carers very much, which is not only reflected in adopting this charter, but also by our levels of investment in support for the service.”
Ofsted inspectors recently dubbed the city council’s fostering service as good with some outstanding features.
Coun Smith said: “We are fortunate to have carers who are second to none in terms of their skill, tenacity and absolute commitment to providing a quality service to the children of Sunderland.
“We wish to build on this success by making further investment in our carers and as such we will be giving every carer the opportunity to be paid a fee in addition to the fostering allowance.”
Fostering Fortnight is the biggest national event to highlight the urgent need for foster carers to help improve the lives of the most vulnerable youngsters.
Anyone in Sunderland interested in finding out more about becoming a foster carer can contact Sunderland City Council on 5205555 or go along to the next information event to be held at Leechmere Training Centre, Carrmere Road, Grangetown at 6.30pm on Monday, May 23.