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Fostering family backs Richmond Council's call for help
A fostering family has spoken of the huge benefits of the role as Richmond Council launches its initiative to encourage more carers to come forward.
Sam Millard from Twickenham spoke about her experiences of foster care since her family took on the challenge 16 months ago.
Mrs Millard said: “I wanted to be at home more and now I’m able to stay at home to support my family.”
Mrs Millard, 37, and her husband Jon Millard, 39, are currently looking after a baby boy, who is their third foster child.
She said her daughters Louise Millard, 14, and Katie Millard, nine, enjoyed having a foster sibling in the house and the whole experience had been very positive.
Mrs Millard, who is a former young families pastor for St Stephen’s Church, Twickenham, said: “We felt that as a family it was something that we would be quite good at, being able to offer a stable environment for a child and we all love kids – which is helpful.
“Meeting other foster carers can really help because you don’t know what it’s going to be like. It’s an intense process at times, however if you can view it as a positive experience then it really can be.
“It brought us together as a family so it was definitely worth it because that feels very good.”
There are about 90 children and young people in the borough who are looked after at any one time, many of them placed in local foster homes.
However, Richmond Council urgently needs more foster carers to meet the diverse needs of this group of children.
The council’s cabinet member for children’s services, Councillor Christine Percival, said: “We play a vital role in helping young people who cannot live with their own families. The fostering team find people that can look after one or more children whilst arrangements are made for their future.
“The Richmond fostering team is a small, dedicated, group of staff. They will provide training and continuous support throughout the whole process.”
To find out about Richmond fostering service, call 0800 0857072 or go to one of the drop in sessions in the Terrace Parlour Room at York House, Twickenham, on either Monday, March 11, from 12.15pm to 3pm or Wednesday, March 13, from 3.30pm to 6pm.
Coun Percival said: “At these special drop-in events people can find out more information, meet those who already foster but also meet our fostering team.
“The events will also be an opportunity to highlight the myths surrounding fostering and the people who can apply to be assessed as prospective foster carers. Couples and individuals, with or without their own children, can come from all walks of life and cultural backgrounds.”