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Councillors learn how foster carers coped with pandemic's challenges

By Kyle Ritchie

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Aberdeenshire Council’s education and children’s services committee learnt how foster carers rose to the challenges of home schooling and keeping youngsters safe during the lockdowns in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Statements from foster carers in an annual report from the foster care service highlighted the highs and lows of caring during a global pandemic.

One statement said: “Fostering in 2020 has been amazing, it’s brought a focus for me and my own children during the pandemic and we’ve loved having our young boy stay with us.

"The support from Aberdeenshire Council has been great. Everybody I’ve worked with has made such a great effort towards the child in our care, myself and my family. Honestly forever grateful for the experience.”

The service adapted to the changes to the working environment caused by Covid by highlighting free online training resources and providers.

The fostering social workers also provided support and supervision virtually through telephone and online meetings, and physically distanced face-to-face contact when restrictions allowed.

During lockdown, the service encouraged fostering families to take part in a variety of activities online which included themed window displays and craft activities. Pictures were shared on the Aberdeenshire Adoption and Fostering Facebook page.

Throughout the national awareness event Foster Care Fortnight in May, the service asked fostering households to share their thoughts and pictures relating to foster care, caring for children and young people and things that were helping them to manage the lockdown restrictions, each starting with a different letter, each day. Foster carers contributions were shared on the service's Facebook.

Councillor Gillian Owen, Aberdeenshire Council’s education and children’s services committee chairwoman, said: “It is hard not to be moved by the warmth shown by foster carers during what has been an incredibly difficult time for everyone.

Councillor Gillian Owen.
Councillor Gillian Owen.

"I am immensely proud of the foster care service for quickly adapting to the ever-changing working world in order to keep in touch with foster care families.

"That they also ensured anyone interested in becoming a foster carer can undertake the training to do so in the midst of a global pandemic is also hugely impressive.”

Committee vice-chairwoman councillor Rosemary Bruce said: “Whilst foster care isn’t for the faint hearted, it is hugely rewarding. It gives you the opportunity to make a difference to the lives of children and young people in Aberdeenshire.

"Our warm, friendly and knowledgeable team is on hand to help you if you are considering becoming a foster carer.”

Anyone interested in becoming a foster carer or would like an information pack, can contact fostering.befriending@aberdeenshire.gov.uk or 01467 532700.

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