There are many children who are in need to foster placements in Essex. There is no such thing as the 'ideal' foster family, so we are looking for people who can meet the individual needs of these children.
We are particularly looking for foster carers who can consider brothers and sisters, older children, children seeking asylum, parent & child placements and children with disabilities.
As well as our profiles of children who need care, you can find out more about how foster carers have transformed children's lives. These real-life stories come from children and young adults who have left care and explain what fostering has meant to them.
Children age 10 and up
Many children come into care at ages 10 and up. They need love and care as much as younger children and can be one of the most rewarding age groups to look after.
To achieve their best, these children will need guidance and support from reliable, patient and empathetic foster carers. They may have experienced significant trauma, neglect or loss and will need help overcoming this. They may be behind in school work and need support developing social skills so they can build friendships and become well-rounded adults.
These young people may struggle to accept that they cannot live with their birth family. They'll need your support through this time as they find out who they are and where they belong.
Kind natured and hard-working girl – Melanie, 14
Melanie is 14 years old and is interested in singing and drama and has recently started cheerleading. She cooks for the homeless community once a week as part of her work with the Youth Offending Service.
She takes pride in her physical appearance and enjoys spending time being creative with her makeup. She enjoys playing on the X-box, watching Netflix and listening to music.
Melanie's favourite subject at school is Health and Social Care and she has taken great pride in her coursework in this subject, writing about her own experiences.
Melanie's parents, siblings and friends are important to her and she would like to be able to maintain these relationships in her placement. She likes it when people talk with her and involve her in decisions. Melanie feels that she is good at recognising positive things in other people, but she sometimes struggles to see them in herself.
Melanie needs support in finding ways to cope with her emotions. She is at risk of going missing and of child sexual exploitation and she communicates via social media with other young people who are vulnerable.
How can you help and support Melanie?
- offer time, patience and a non-judgmental listening ear
- understand Melanie’s world and the reasons she is struggling to process her emotions and help her find more positive ways of coping with her feelings.
- take a keen interest in her friendships and what they mean to her
- be positive about her family and support her to develop a positive relationship with them
- support her education and give lots of praise for her work
- be willing to work with the professionals involved in Melanie’s life as they are a valuable source of support and advice.
Lively and enthusiastic boy - Arron, 14
Arron is full of energy and interested in whatever's going on around him. He has had many changes in his life, including his parents' separation. He now needs a foster home to see him through to adulthood.
Arron is open about his feelings but can be anxious about life, his future and uncertain about making friends. If he becomes too anxious, he runs from the situation.
Arron needs calm carers with plenty of time to help him with self confidence and managing his anxiety, especially as school moves towards exams. He'd like to go to university and to become a scientist.
Arron’s mother is white British and his father is from a British Asian Indian family. Carers may need to support Arron in understanding his heritage.
Wherever possible we try to place siblings together. Many foster children value their relationships with their brothers and sisters most about their family, so staying together is important to them.
Loving brothers need to stay together - Simon, 7 and Danny, 9*
Simon and Danny have three older siblings who've all spent time in care. They have a close bond.
Danny took responsibility his brother's day-to-day care when their mother was not well enough to care for them. They are close to their grandfather, but due to his ill health and age he cannot offer them a home.
They need foster carers who can keep them together and would help them have regular contact with their grandfather. They also need to stay at their school, especially Danny who is having extra learning help.
Simon is a serious little boy who enjoys sport, especially football. He is loving and responds well to clear instructions and boundaries. He is very different to Danny, who can be a bit silly.
Simon and Danny could be fostered in a family with other children. They would love a dog!
Children with disabilities
Many children needing foster care have medical conditions or physical and learning disabilities such as autism, hyperactivity and attention deficit. They often need extra care and attention, and may need special medication or care routines. You can hear from foster carers about fostering children with disabilities below.
If you're willing to take on this rewarding work, we'll give you specialist training.
Cheeky, but charming - Dean, 6*
Dean is a lovable child who enjoys adult attention. He goes to a mainstream primary school and works well with his learning support assistant. He may need to go to a special school when he moves to secondary education.
Dean seems to have been allowed to behave badly because he is cheeky and smiley, but as he's grown his parents have found it harder to care for him. Dean can be aggressive towards his mother and siblings if he doesn't get what he wants.
Dean is on the autistic spectrum. He finds it difficult to wait and take turns. He needs his day and surroundings to be very predictable. He responds positively where this is provided, for example at school. He enjoys all lessons except noisy team games.
Dean loves to share books with an adult and knows a lot about tractors, cars and other vehicles.
Dean needs a foster family with no other young children so he can have the focussed attention he needs to shine.
Crafty short break friend needed - Leanne, 14*
Leanne lives with her parents and younger sister in rural Essex. Her father works away from home for long periods of time.
Leanne has a level of learning disability. She does not sleep well and is often active at night. Leanne's mother worries about her, for example, leaving taps turned on. During the day she needs supervision, as she has little understanding of danger.
Leanne likes to play with dolls and toys. Her home life is becoming more complicated as her sister is moving on to other activities.
Their mother feels there are not enough hours in the day.
Leanne wants a friend who can take her on outings - she likes the zoo - and to make things with, such as pictures and cakes - she likes to have something at the end to share. A short break carer could give Leanne the time to try new things while giving her mother an overnight break.
* These are stories of children who need foster care. Pictures are representative stock images.