Stoke-on-Trent City Council has been named as Fostering Friendly – Employer of the Year at a prestigious ceremony in Birmingham.
Councillor Dave Evans, the council’s cabinet member for children and young people and members of the fostering service collected the award and got the opportunity to share with attendees from across the country how the city council has become the UK’s first Fostering Friendly city.
The Fostering Excellence Awards are the UK’s most prestigious foster care awards. They celebrate outstanding achievement in fostering and recognise those who make exceptional contributions to foster care every day. They shine a spotlight on some of the incredible foster carers, young people with care experience, sons and daughters, social workers and others in the fostering community.
Councillor Dave Evans, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “I was delighted to collect the Fostering Friendly – Employer of the Year award and celebrate our achievements. Being in a room full of foster carers and people who are passionate about fostering really brought home how fantastic our foster carers in the city are and why we need more of them.
“We have more Fostering Friendly employers in Stoke-on-Trent than any other city in UK. We are leading the way nationally and showing how serious we are about coming together to support our children and young people as a place.
“Currently we have 11 Fostering Friendly employers which represent approximately 13,000 employees. Our fostering team regularly go to visit these employers and their employees are provided with information on how they can foster. We know we all – businesses, communities, organisations – have a role to play in giving young people in the city the best start in life.”
Fostering Friendly is a scheme created by The Fostering Network, the UK’s leading fostering charity. The scheme supports employers to implement a policy which promotes fostering and supports their foster carer employees. Stoke-on-Trent City Council is a Fostering Friendly employer and has been working hard over the last year to encourage major local employers to join in pledging support for children in care.
Kevin Williams, chief executive of The Fostering Network said: “Congratulations to Stoke-on-Trent City Council on their much-deserved award win. The level of commitment shown to being a Fostering Friendly employer and efforts to raise awareness of fostering should be celebrated.
“We urge others to join them in becoming a Fostering Friendly employer, which is free and open to organisations of any size. By doing so, you will support employees who foster – ultimately helping children in your local community to have a nurturing home where they can thrive.”
With still more than 1,000 children in care across the city, the city council is urging residents to consider fostering and more businesses to come forward and commit to being Fostering Friendly employers.
Council leader Abi Brown said: “I am ecstatic that we have been named as Fostering Friendly: Employer of the Year. No matter how often you can foster – short term, weekends or emergencies only, foster carers are immensely needed. If you would like to know more about becoming a foster carer in Stoke-on-Trent visit www.fostering.stoke.gov.uk or call our friendly team on 01782 234555.”
If you are a local business and are interested in becoming Fostering Friendly, get in touch with Kate.Bailey@stoke.gov.uk or Sarah.Havill@stoke.gov.uk to learn more. They will then share more detailed information about the initiative and support your HR lead to adapt your policies to align with the Fostering Friendly initiative.