A Kirklees foster carer is following in the footsteps of her adoptive parents.
Rachel Waite, who knows first-hand the difference a loving home can make to a child, is backing a campaign aimed at finding more families to take up the role.
Kirklees Council has seen year-on-year increases in the number of children coming into care, highlighting an urgent need for more people to come forward. In 2012/13 there were 222 new cases of children entering the care system. In 2013/14, this rose to 259 and in 2014/15, numbers in Kirklees reached 266.
For most of these children, short-term foster care is required until they can return to their families. But some face a more uncertain future and need to be fostered long-term. Unless enough foster families can be found locally, children face being moved out of their area at a time when they are already going through immense upheaval.
Heckmondwike foster carer, Rachel and her husband, Justin, have been fostering for 12 years. The parents-of-two have looked after seven children on a short-term and respite basis including one with complex medical needs and one long-term placement.
For 44 year-old Rachel, helping young people was a dream she’d nurtured since childhood. She herself was looked after by foster carers from the age of just ten months, and she was eventually adopted by them at the age of 13. Growing up in a fostering household meant she grew up alongside numerous ‘siblings’. She was able to see the difference her family made and decided she wanted to follow in their footsteps.
Rachel says: “People become foster carers for all sorts of reasons, but for me, my upbringing played a massive part. I feel lucky that I was fostered by two wonderful people who then went on to adopt me.”
Paul Johnson, Kirklees Council’s assistant director - Family Support and Child Protection, said: “No child asks to be put into care and for those who are it is a confusing and upsetting time. We need more foster families like the Waites who are dedicated to providing these children with the love and support they need at a time when they are at their most vulnerable.”
If you think you have what it takes to be a foster carer Kirklees Council would like to hear from you. You can speak to the fostering team on 0800 389 0086 or by visiting www.kirklees.gov.uk/fostering