WOULD-BE foster carers in the region are being urged to step forward over the next two weeks.

As part of Foster Care Fortnight (May 13-26), Scottish Borders Council is keen to hear from anyone who would like to join its dedicated team of carers.

The council wants to hear from potential carers who are able to care for children and young people, aged between 0–21, who are in need of a family placement.

This includes a particular need for carers who would be interested in supporting older children, sibling groups, disabled children and unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.

The local authority is looking for carers who would be able to provide short breaks for children with complex needs and disabilities.

This involves providing weekend breaks and short-term periods of care for children who continue to live at home with their parents.

Helen Sommerville has been a foster carer with the council for seven years.

She said: “There’s so much more to being a carer than people might imagine, with no two days or two children ever the same. It’s hugely rewarding and yes, at times challenging, but I would have to say that one of the most beautiful and life affirming experiences is when the young person is able to return home to their birth family.

“I’m currently in the final stages of this process with a youngster I have looked after for a year and it very much involves working as a team with the family, building a plan around their needs, so that the transition can be as smooth as possible.

"Returning a child or young person home is an emotional experience for everyone involved and I must admit I will shed a tear or two and miss my wee pal.

"But it has been a privilege to be part of this experience and help a family come back together."

Councillor Carol Hamilton, SBC’s executive member for developing our children and young people, said: “All children have the right to grow up in a loving and stable home supported by people who can love them, be ambitious for them and help them achieve their potential.

“Unfortunately, there are some circumstances where they are unable to live with their birth families and need to be cared for by foster carers. This is when carers like Helen come into their own, providing a safe and supportive environment for as long as it takes or is required.

“If you think you’ve got the motivation, skills and experience to become one of our highly respected carers, now is the time to find out more – our team is only a phone call away.

"They’ll be happy to talk you through all the benefits of working with us including the payments and allowances that you’ll be entitled to as well as details of the training and support that’s provided.”

To find out more, contact the Family Placement Team on 01896 662799 or visit: www.scotborders.gov.uk/fostering. You can also follow them on Facebook at: @ScottishBordersFosteringandAdoption