Child care agency calls for people to consider fostering

Children dance on a measured and painted socially distanced circle in the playground as they wait to

There has been a rise in children coming into care throughout the pandemic, according to Five Rivers' Elizabeth Fleet. - Credit: PA

A child care service in Havering is asking residents to consider fostering to help youngsters in the borough overcome adversity.  

Five Rivers is an independent fostering agency with an office based in Harold Wood.  

Throughout the pandemic its services have been impacted “hugely”, according to service manager Elizabeth Fleet, who said Covid caused a rise in children coming into care.  

She explained: “To my delight, our existing placements didn’t break down, but it was heartbreaking to see more children coming into care due to situations such as parents passing away from Covid.” 

Reflecting on the restrictions of staying at home, Elizabeth said this has led to more children being “emerged in domestic violence, surrounded by drugs and alcohol”.  

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She said: “I always say that this is the most difficult time of my career, and it’s the hardest I've ever had to work, but the positive side is the humility that existing carers have shown.”  

Five Rivers service manager, Elizabeth Fleet. 

Five Rivers service manager, Elizabeth Fleet. - Credit: Five Rivers

A spokesperson for Havering Council confirmed it currently has 93 fostering family units in the borough.  

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 Elizabeth said it is an opportunity for people to think about a “rewarding job”.

Five Rivers has an “excellent” training pathway and support for foster carers, she said.

Nationally there is a shortage of carers. I don’t feel that there’s enough words to emphasise how much these kids need foster carers.  

“If you’re caring, kind, empathic, you will do great, and you cannot put a price on how life-changing it is for these children to have a secure base and family environment, which they can grow, develop and recover in.”  

She added: “People from all backgrounds, can be considered to become a foster carer, as long as they meet our requirements of being over the age of 21, and pass the approval process.

"We’re looking for compassionate and caring individuals who are willing to open their hearts and homes to children and young people in need.”

Within the role of fostering, carers will receive a weekly payment. A spokesperson for Havering Council said its pay structure “varies dependent on many factors, including their experience, the age of the child, and the complexity of the child’s needs". 

“This can range anywhere from £354 per week, to £750 per week," they said.

Elizabeth said it is testament to the importance of fostering that a young boy, who has not been named, recently achieved the best SATS results in Havering.

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