A RENFREWSHIRE charity has highlighted the importance of building a family network for fostered young people as part of an awareness campaign.

Specialist child and youth care charity Kibble has a dedicated fostering service which is designed in partnership with young people to build a systemic family structure.

As part of Foster Care Fortnight, family placement supervisor Nicole Dalziel has shared her experiences of recruiting and working with foster carers.

Nicole, who has worked at Kibble for seven years, told The Gazette: "Relationships are fundamental for everyone, especially for children and young people who need them to learn, develop and grow. 

"At Kibble, everything comes back to this and what we’ve found is that by implementing a family structure around each young person, we are able to give them an array of relationships, each bringing something valuable and unique to the life of the person they care for.

"Foster carers, and key workers, tend to stay with Kibble longer than other organisations and that is down to the bond which they create with the young people, and with each other. 

"We actively encourage foster carers to build relationships with everyone involved in the young person’s life, because it creates a network which reflects that of any other family. 

"From parents to grandparents, to the fun auntie – these are the roles young people are seeking to fill within their lives."

The charity's family placement supervisors have a deliberately small number of young people to support compared to some fostering services, to give them a chance to really embed themselves into the lives of young people and the carer families.

Nicole said: "Some foster families create a bond for life, and extended families play a key role in helping strengthen these family ties. For example, it’s commonplace within our fostering families for foster 'grandparents', aunties or uncles to step in to support the school run, shopping trip or enjoy a trip to the park. We make sure family members are supported to in step from time-to-time.

"These seemingly day-to-day moments create a bank of positive memories and experiences for young people to take through life. In addition, they are also in place to provide a break for the foster parents when needed."

To find out more about Kibble’s fostering service and how to sign up to become a foster carer, visit www.kibble.org/fostering/.