Did you know that East Sussex County Council have over 2,800 years worth of fostering? No, our fostering service didn’t begin in 779 BC. 2,800 years is the total time our foster carers have collectively provided care to children across the county.
What does fostering look like with East Sussex?
To date, there are currently 262 households across the county who foster with East Sussex. The average length of service for each of our current foster families is 10 years, 8 months and 24 days. While many people have a set idea on what it means to foster, every placement, carer and child is different. For example, foster carers often have a speciality. Some care for parent and child, babies, teenagers, children with additional needs and siblings. Many care alongside their birth children, while others care with a partner or are single and care independently. Some also foster with a close friend. Placements can be long-term, short-term or even just providing a respite service. Every situation is unique but what our foster carers all have in common is a desire to help make a difference to young lives across the county.
Often we hear from the foster carer’s perspective but it’s also important to hear from those who have been through the process.
What is fostering like for looked after children?
David (pictured above), now 20, went into care when he was five years old. He has lived with the same family throughout the last 15 years and speaks highly of his foster carer, Hilary and her birth children. He has a great relationship with the family describing how, “having an education alongside brothers and sisters made me feel like one of them”.
Interested in science throughout secondary school, David is now studying Physics at the University of York.
“Hilary, my [foster] carer, has always wanted me to strive from a young age and I wouldn’t be in the position I am now if it wasn’t for her.”
He also said that, it if it wasn’t for the fostering service, “I would not have been given the opportunities I have.”
Over the years, David has continued to have regular contact with his birth mother. He shared how she “appreciate[s] the opportunities that I have [been] presented and…how it is a good thing for me.”
Crediting Hilary for giving him “all the ambition to learn”, David would like to continue studying physics and move into research. He is also considering a future in fostering, recognising that it can be a hard and challenging process but also very rewarding and worthwhile.
David shared the positive impact that fostering has had on his life and the importance of the service. He shared a quote that has resonated with him over the years and made him reflect on the importance of fostering:
“‘The thing about being a parent is for your kids to have a better life than yours’ and in no way is this truer than caring for a child.”
If you live in East Sussex and you’d like to find out more about fostering, please get in contact with the Fostering Team.