Trust launches children’s disability fostering service providing short breaks for families in need
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With a significant number of families who would currently benefit from a short break, this service will provide essential support to those caring for children with disabilities.
This new service is designed to offer short breaks to children with severe disabilities and will provide their parents with valuable time for themselves, while ensuring their children receive care and support in a nurturing environment.
With over 30 years’ experience as Foster Carers, Gerard and Marion Lennon have welcomed countless children and young people and have been providing weekend short breaks for a family within the Trust since their daughter, who is now three, was four months old.
The couple explained how this gives “mum and dad a chance to recharge their batteries once a month and when she (the child) comes to the house, well she just runs in as if she hasn’t left.”
Marion stressed the importance of forging “good relationships with parents, it is vital as you are part of a bigger jigsaw. By becoming a foster carer you are able to give a family that time to get stronger, parents are placed in the centre.”
Gerard said he would encourage those who may be thinking of becoming a foster carer to a child with a learning difficulty or disability to “go do it and try, dip your foot in the water. I would say try the short breaks care. Each child is unique, if the thought is there with people, then definitely give it a go. Don’t be fearful as there is plenty of support and the team are only a telephone call away.”
Parents Clifford and Natasha who avail of short breaks with the foster carers said it “gives us time for ourselves.”
“If you don’t take care of yourself you’ll not be able to care for others. We get to spend time together as a couple and do normal things which are sometimes hard to do.”
Speaking at the launch of the service, Head of Children’s Disability Services, Lorraine Noade said: “Foster carers do a fantastic job and it’s because of that that we feel it’s important to develop this project.
“The focus of the service is two-fold, in that firstly it is to continue to develop over-night short breaks fostering for children with disabilities and the second is to try and identify specific placements for the small number of children that we have who can’t live at home.
"This is a really important project as it’s very much based on feedback and consultation with our parents.
“When our team is speaking with the parents or the carers, when they talk about the children, they talk about them with great joy, there is such a passion for them because they are each so wonderful.
"I think for any person who is considering becoming a foster carer as part of this service they need to hear that message, a child with a disability is nothing to be afraid of, they are children first and yes they do have additional needs and are to be embraced.”