“A career in foster care is exactly that – a career,” says Kay Gibson, Kibble’s Intensive Fostering Service (IFS) Manager. “Unfortunately this message is not getting across and as a result there is a critical shortage of foster carers in Scotland. Hundreds of young people require foster placements but there just aren’t enough foster carers to go round.”
Kay continues, “An IFS foster carer at Kibble not only gets to make a real difference in a young person’s life but also receives full training and support. It is an opportunity to become recognised as a skilled professional while doing a very rewarding job.”
Kibble IFS is currently recruiting foster carers to work with boys, aged 12 to 18, who have a complex mix of social, emotional, educational and behavioural problems. IFS meets the needs of some of Scotland’s most vulnerable and hard-to-place young people by providing each young person with a placement, either at Kibble’s school or at KibbleWorks employment training enterprise.
Kay describes the valuable support network for each young person. “With IFS the young person attends Kibble on weekdays where specialist care and education staff are on hand. So it is not just the foster carer who is responsible for providing stability and support.”
This wider support network works both ways. “It is also beneficial to the foster carers themselves. Through the provision of training, round-the-clock support and regular meetings with Kibble staff, the foster carers are kept in the loop. It is a vital aspect of IFS that the carers are not left feeling isolated.”
This emphasis on involvement and support is echoed by IFS foster carer Tommy Arthur who says, “The level of personal, financial and practical support we get from Kibble means that I would not swap this job for the world.”
THERE CAN’T BE MANY JOBS THAT BRING A TEAR TO YOUR EYE BECAUSE YOU’RE CHANGING SOMEONE’S LIFE FOR THE BETTER
But that’s what can happen if you become a full-time foster carer – just ask Joe and Anne Devine. The couple from Greenhills, in East Kilbride have been foster carers to 17-year-old Billy for a year and they are urging others to consider a career with the Kibble Education and Care Centre’s Intensive Fostering Services (IFS).
A recruitment drive has been launched by the fostering service offering specialised training and a combination of professional fees and allowances, which could be as much as £37,000 a year.
Joe and Anne have seen an amazing change in Billy’s life since he came to live with them. The couple helped Billy turn his life around and he is now holding down a full-time job at Kibble in their new Skillzone project, which gives under 16s the chance of vocational training.
Joe, 51, says: “Since coming to stay with us, Billy has matured, is more thoughtful, has a more positive outlook and appreciates the help that is on offer to him. “I feel good that things are now going right for Billy and we have played a part in changing his life for the better.”
Anne, 53, adds: “I get a lot of satisfaction being a foster carer. Billy has told us that he can’t imagine living anywhere else. That’s the kind of thing that brings a tear to your eye.”
Billy says: “Being in foster care has changed my life. Before, I didn’t think I was going anywhere and I wasn’t going to be able to do anything with my life.” Kay Gibson, Operations Manager for Kibble’s Intensive Fostering Services, based in Paisley, explained IFS is looking for people to become foster carers to boys aged between 12 and 18.
She says: “Our specialised foster carers are required to have an HNC and SVQ in Social Care, or be prepared to study with our support to gain these qualifications. This is a skilled job and the generous fees and allowances reflect that.”
To find out more about working as a foster carer log on to the website www.kibblefostering.org or call 0141 889 0044