Stockport Council has become a fostering friendly employer and is encouraging other local businesses to do the same.
The local authority is offering five days of extra leave to staff who are applying to be foster carers, which allows them to attend meetings, training sessions and home visits to prepare for the assessment process.
Launched during throughout this year, the council’s flexible approach aims to help employees who want to foster by giving them the extra support they need to ensure they can balance fostering with their working commitments.
Cllr Wendy Meikle, cabinet member for children, families and education, said: “As an employer, the council has introduced this flexible, fostering friendly approach to ensure our staff who are considering becoming a foster carer are given the support and the opportunity to help them balance work and the busy role of a foster carer. Our foster carers are making a real difference to young children in Stockport and they do a wonderful job and we are trying to make life a little easier from them and allow them the time to be trained and supported to become the best foster carer they can be and help to build stable homes for our local children and young people.”
Established by the Fostering Network, the fostering friendly employers’ scheme helps organisations to recognise and support staff who are fostering at no cost to the business. By signing up to the initiative, employers commit to ensuring their HR policy is foster friendly by providing paid leave for training and helping a child settle into their home, as well as flexible working arrangements.
Meikle added: “There are many children who need a caring home and I would urge firms and organisations in Stockport to help wherever they can. Just making a few small changes to leave arrangements and working practices won’t make a massive difference to your organisation but it could make a massive difference to children’s lives.”