Wirral Council has become the first council in Merseyside to be awarded Fostering Friendly Employer status by the national Fostering Network charity.
The award follows the launch of a new council policy designed to support staff who are existing or prospective foster carers.
Furthering the council’s commitment to fostering, the new policy offers employees who foster additional support to make it easier for them to support the children they care for.
This includes paid leave for training purposes and for those who are going through the fostering application process, as well as a flexible approach towards working arrangements and time off to attend key fostering events or meetings.
Kevin Williams, Chief Executive of The Fostering Network, said: ‘We know that a supportive employer can make all the difference when combining fostering and other work, and we are pleased to see yet another organisation deemed Fostering Friendly.
‘By adopting this new HR policy, Wirral Council is supporting foster carers in their vital work transforming looked after children’s lives. Hopefully this will encourage more staff members to consider becoming foster carers – safe in the knowledge that their employer will provide the practical support they need to fulfil their duties.’
Cllr Bernie Mooney, Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said:
“This additional support for foster carers provides recognition for the work they do, as well as offering reassurance and understanding from their employer. When our foster carers flourish, our children do too."
There are currently 787 children and young people looked after by Wirral Council. With the launch of its new fostering policy, the council hopes to encourage people to become foster carers so that more children can be matched with the best possible support.
It is also hoped that the council’s new Fostering Friendly status will lead the way and encourage partners and other local organisations to support their employees who may already foster or who are considering fostering.
Wirral Council already has provisions in place to support adoption; mirroring its maternity arrangements in terms of pay and leave, and exceeding its statutory requirements.
For more information please visit www.wirral.gov.uk/fostering