Barrow Borough Council is the latest employer to sign up to Cumbria County Council’s Fostering Friendly Employer initiative.
The Fostering Friendly Employer initiative gives local businesses the opportunity to support foster carers and Cumbria’s most vulnerable children and young people. A supportive and flexible employer will enable foster carers to balance their work and caring responsibilities.
Barrow Council joins 15 other businesses (including three local councils) which have joined the Fostering Friendly Employer initiative since its launch in February 2015.
Cllr Dave Pidduck, the Leader of Barrow Borough Council, said: “We’re proud to be able to support Cumbria County Council’s Fostering Friendly Employer scheme which recognises the importance of foster carers and the support they provide to some of Cumbria’s most vulnerable children and young people.
“When, many years ago, my wife and I adopted our daughter, I was very fortunate that the college where I worked gave me time off to go for interviews when I needed to. I really appreciated that support, which made it a little bit easier for us and gave us a little less to worry about during the adoption process, which is why I know from my own experience that it is important for us as a council to support those who foster and those wish to be involved.”
In Cumbria there are close to 700 children, of all ages, from various cultural and social backgrounds, placed in foster care for many different reasons. The council wants employers to come forward and implement changes as part of their corporate social responsibility to help support its work to recruit and retain foster carers in Cumbria.
The changes are simple and will have a significant impact on the children in Cumbria who require foster care. The scheme asks for companies to:
- recognise the needs of foster carers in employment policies
- help us celebrate fostering and foster carers.
Gill Jones, county council foster carer and employee at Barrow Borough Council, said: “As a foster carer having a supportive employer can make all the difference, I’m delighted that Barrow Council is now part of the scheme.
“It’s an extra layer of support for us and allows us to be confident that our employer supports our role as foster carers.”
Cllr Anne Burns, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Barrow Borough Council onto the scheme; Fostering Friendly Employers can make a huge difference for children looked after in Cumbria.
“I think it sets a great example to other local employers and I hope more will follow their lead. This is a prime illustration of how a company is taking its role in the community seriously.
“The scheme is not one size fits all, our aim is that employers consider the needs of foster carers and do what they can to help. Be that giving time off for training, allowing swapping of shifts or sharing information on foster caring.”
For more information on the scheme visit www.cumbria.gov.uk/fostering.