Families across the county are being urged to consider fostering.
Gloucestershire County Council is asking people who have a spare room and the life skills to foster to consider this as a new career especially if they are able to provide a home to teenagers, children with disabilities and sibling groups.
Nick Williams, 46, from the Forest of Dean, started fostering early last year.
Nick gave up work to become a foster carer and is the main carer. He is married and his wife still works, and they have a seven year old son at home.
Nick is fostering an 11 year old boy who will be with him through to adulthood. They also foster other children in the short-term, including to prepare them for adoption.
Nick gives the children a really outdoor, active life, which they seem to thrive on.
He said: “We walk to and from school with the dog, which they really like. We go out for long walks with a backpack and a picnic and do lots of cycling. Most of the kids have lots of energy, so anything physical works very well.”
Nick would advise anyone thinking about a career change to consider fostering.
He said: “I wanted to do something different and give something back, so that’s what I did! Fostering has been a lovely career change for me. If you put children first, it’s a great job.”
Fostering is a way to make a real positive difference to a child’s life, providing children and young people with a stable and loving home and the support and encouragement they need to flourish and do well.
As a career, fostering also offers you training and the opportunity to learn new skills.
Councillor Paul McLain, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “We have many foster carers who have opted to change career to foster or who find themselves without a job and decide they can use their skills to foster a child.
“All children are different, and to meet their needs, we are looking for a wide variety of people. Fostering is a challenging role to take on but it can make a real difference. If, like Nick says, you feel that you put children first, why not make a new year’s resolution that will change a child’s life?”
Foster carers with Gloucestershire County Council receive a weekly maintenance and skills allowance to help care for a child. The county council accepts applications to foster from all sectors of society and people can be married, single, unmarried couples, gay and lesbian, have their own children, retired, a homeowner, in rented accommodation or unemployed.
All that we ask is that you are over the age of 21 and have a spare room in your home. We also need people who have more than one spare room who can foster brothers and sisters to keep them to together.
Anyone wishing to find out more about becoming a foster carer can contact the county council’s fostering team on 01242 532654 or go to www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/fostering