A group of foster carers who between them have provided loving homes to local children for nearly five centuries were congratulated for their dedication at a special ceremony.
The City of Wolverhampton Council officially thanked dozens of long-serving foster carers for the vital work they do looking after vulnerable children in the city at the event in the Mayor's Parlour on Friday (23 October, 2015).
Awards were presented to 36 foster carers, including individuals and couples who have devoted between 10 and 40 years of their lives to fostering local children. There was also a special presentation to Christine and John Whatton, who were awarded MBEs for services for children in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in June after fostering for more than four decades.
Councillor Val Gibson, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, presented the awards and said: “We are very lucky to have so many dedicated foster carers in Wolverhampton who combine a desire to help children with a commitment to providing the best possible care for them.
“I was very honoured to meet so many of these hard working individuals and couples who have devoted their lives to supporting vulnerable young people in Wolverhampton; together they have cared for children for a total of 465 years, which is an incredible achievement."
Foster carers can be sole carers, married or in a relationship. Placements can be anything from a few days to a number of years, and they receive a regular, tax exempt allowance to cover the cost of bringing up the child.
Help and support is available 24 hours a day, while first-time foster carers also receive six months' "buddy support" from experienced carers who are there to guide them through the system.
Councillor Gibson added: "Fostering can truly be a life-changing experience, both for the foster carers and the young people they care for, and we'd love to hear from anyone else who is interested in helping local children by becoming a foster carer."
People can find out more about fostering by visiting www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/fostering or calling the Fostering for Wolverhampton team on 01902 551133.