Wiltshire Council are running a live question and answer session for those curious about becoming foster parents.

The session is on Thursday 21 May from 7:30pm via this link Join the Wiltshire Council fostering information webinar

Cllr Pauline Church, cabinet member for children, education and skills said: “Wiltshire Council has improved the support and benefits available to foster cares and will be holding a live question and answer session on Thursday.

“People can put questions to the fostering team.

“During the session, a foster carer will also be sharing their stories, giving insights into the highs and lows, the challenges and rewards of being a foster carer.

“We have recently launched a campaign to recruit 100 more foster carers over three years and we know there are people out there who may be considering fostering – we’d like them to get involved and find out more.”

The campaign, with the hashtag #FosterFor Wiltshire is accompanied by an improved pay structure for foster carers and support and benefits.

People can foster if they have a spare room, are over 21 and have space in their heart to foster.

Wiltshire Council is also considering changes brought in by the government so that some fostering assessments can be completed more quickly.

Selina and Justin Kirkbride have been foster carers with Wiltshire Council for just under three years and said: “We have a sense of purpose when we have children staying with us.

“When they first come, they can be quite traumatised, but being able to look back to see the difference you have made and the confidence you have given the children, building their confidence and seeing some children settled in a new adopted family is very rewarding”

Anyone thinking about fostering or who wants to know more can join the fostering information webinar and ask questions of the foster care team.

The session follows a successful online session on 12 May where people asked a range of questions. The sessions are taking place during Foster Care Fortnight.

Foster carers Maria and Martin explain what fostering means for them: "Many children in care don't give feedback in the same way as other children would.

“They might not make big gestures of gratitude. It is the little moments that count, like a genuine smile that lights up a child's whole face, when you are surprised when a child reaches out and holds your hand or when they snuggle up on the sofa when you are watching TV.

“The feeling that a child is starting to put their trust in you is so special."

Foster carer Jo explains: "It's really nice to spend quality time with them whether it's together or separate. Some of the things we've done together for example is sharing a book, watching their favourite movie or going on a day out." You can watch her video here https://youtu.be/ia5lixVHGA0

To attend the live webinar click here

More information on fostering can be found at:

• Calling fostering on 0800 1696321

• Emailing fostering@wiltshire.gov.uk

• Visiting fosteringwiltshire.uk