A new contract celebrating and rewarding foster carers and their families is coming to the borough.
Wigan Council’s Deal for Foster Carers is an agreement focusing on the whole family and also offers a number of incentives and support to increase foster carer recruitment, while saving the local authority money.
It was being rolled out this week and will provide families with extra support including: out-of-hours support for carers, long service awards, fostering leave for Wigan employed carers, discounted leisure facility membership for the family and even a transfer bonus for independent foster agency (IFA) carers joining the council.
Anita and Rob Andrews have recently moved over to be Wigan Council foster carers after four years with an independent agency and are so happy with the service that they wish they had done it sooner.
Anita said: "Although independent agencies are better financially, we knew that transferring to Wigan Council was in the best interests of our foster child, despite us living in Warrington.
"It took us a while to decide to transfer but we wanted a long-term placement, which isn’t always offered by independent agencies and the more we spoke with the council and other foster carers the more impressed we were.
"It took us four months to completely transfer but I cannot fault the support and training we have received. Of course, you need to consider your own situation but I would recommend Wigan Council based on our experience."
As of yesterday and throughout November, the authority’s fostering service will tour the borough, providing information to both those who want to get into fostering and those who are thinking of transferring from an IFA.
James Winterbottom, council director of children’s services, said: "We acknowledge that fostering is a huge step for families, especially if the foster carers already have children, which is why we designed a deal that the whole family can benefit from.
"High quality foster carers are vital in ensuring we meet our ambitions of a safe family home for every child, therefore, we’re always looking for new foster carers to join us and we promise to provide ongoing support and training right from the beginning of your fostering journey."
The Deal for Foster Carers: A better deal for foster families’ roadshow will take place in the following locations:
Friday, October 27, 6pm-10pm, Foodie Friday at Haigh Woodland Park
Wednesday, November 1, 1pm-4pm, Leigh Library
Tuesday, November 14, 10am-4pm, Grand Arcade, Wigan
Wednesday, November 15, 4pm-6pm, Howe Bridge Leisure Centre,
Sunday, November 19, (times tbc), Wigan Christmas lights switch on, Wigan town centre
If you’re unable to attend the above sessions, but are interested in becoming a foster carer with Wigan Council you can call 01942 487200 or visit www.wigan.gov.uk/fostering.