Our fostering service has joined with others around the country to release a new short film today (Tuesday 12 October) to encourage more people to consider fostering a child or teenager.
The three-minute film, 'Out There', was jointly funded by a collaboration of 33 local authority-run fostering services, including Brighton & Hove’s.
By depicting the lives of a would-be foster carer and a vulnerable teenager in the lead-up to a foster placement, 'Out There' powerfully demonstrates the positive difference fostering makes to the lives of everyone involved.
Councillor Hannah Clare, chair of Brighton & Hove’s Children, Young People and Skills Committee, said: “We have many wonderful foster carers in Brighton & Hove, but we very much need more people to come forward who can provide a stable, loving home for children and particularly teenagers.
“With this film, we aim to encourage many more people to consider opening their homes and hearts to help a child or young person in need.
“Many people have reflected during the pandemic about their life choices and the importance of loved ones and community. ‘Out There’ powerfully captures this mood and demonstrates the personal benefits that fostering brings for everyone involved.
“Together with our fellow not-for-profit fostering services around the country, we aim to reach countless people via social media with this film and so help find safe, nurturing homes for children and teenagers.
“We are very proud of this video – and we particularly thank the West Midlands Regional Fostering Recruitment Forum who developed the project. By collaborating with fellow not-for-profit foster care providers nationally, we can pool resources and reach countless more people.”
The film launched at a virtual premiere at midday on 12 October, with an introduction from Kevin Williams, the Chief Executive of The Fostering Network. Each local authority then shared the video on their YouTube channels and social media platforms.
Foster carers do an incredible job
Cathy Seiderer, Fostering Recruitment Manager at the Brighton & Hove City Council Fostering Service said:
“Our foster carers in the city do an incredible job, providing day-to-day support, love and stability to children who can’t live with their birth families.
“We are particularly looking for people to foster teenagers at this time. Like the boy, featured in the film, we know so many young people who say that being fostered as a teenager changed their life."
Josh, 21, who was fostered in Brighton from the age of 14, says fostering saved his life and appeals for more people who could provide a safe home for a teenager to consider fostering:
Josh said: “My foster carers gave me a warm and safe environment to explore my mental health and to grow as a person.
“We need foster carers for teenagers to save lives and give opportunities to young people that experience difficulties in their biological families."
Gemma, 19, who has recently started studying law in London, says that being fostered from the age of 14 in Brighton & Hove radically changed the direction of her life.
"Being a foster carer is challenging, yes, but with those challenges often come the best rewards.
"You just have to believe in that young person and their potential. Stability is often what's craved the most and you can provide them with that and start laying that foundation for a better future.”
Chris and Kieran, from Kemptown, have been fostering 28 years, and have fostered more than 100 teenagers, including 20 long-term. They’ve provided emergency care – including for unaccompanied asylum-seeker children – respite care and short-term care.
The couple, who have been together 41 years, own a large house in Brighton and back in the 90s were looking for something more meaningful.
“We have specialised in fostering teenagers as I was by a secondary school teacher and Chris had worked in residential care, so we had some knowledge of young people, so.” says Kieran.
One refugee they fostered some years ago is now married and, through him, Chris and Kieran have two ‘granddaughters’ who they see on a regular basis. At the wedding, the best man and four of the ushers were all foster children of Chris and Kieran.
“There are so many positives - just being part of their lives and… seeing them have experiences that very often they’ve never had before, like going on holiday and sailing.
“It is an incredible trust that’s put on you and it’s a really amazing feeling to have that responsibility - and you can enjoy it as well.
Cathy Seiderer added: “As a local authority-run service, we offer our foster carers training and continuous support to help them and the children they care for to get the best out of fostering.”
"We welcome everyone who can make a positive difference to a child’s life. By joining us you’ll be part of a close and supportive foster care community.”
You can find and share the video on the Brighton & Hove Fostering Facebook page or on our Twitter page: @bhcc_foster using the hashtags #FosterForYourCouncil and #findthebestofyou
For more information about fostering in Brighton & Hove, visit our Fostering Service pages