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WATCH: “I wanted to help families that are going through hard times”

WATCH: “I wanted to help families that are going through hard times”

Sunday 24 January 2021

WATCH: “I wanted to help families that are going through hard times”

An islander has opened up about her experience looking after children with disabilities and complex needs in an appeal to encourage more islanders to help local families by providing short-term care.

Specialist 'Short Break Carers' provide one-to-one support for children with disabilities and complex needs by helping them develop life skills through social activities either in their own home, in their carers’ home, or in the community.

They also support the families of those children by providing them with a break from their caring responsibilities.

Foster carer Lynne Shaw said she first began looking after children because she “wanted to help families that are going through hard times.” 

She currently looks after a little boy with special needs to provide his young family with a break, and to “give time for the other siblings to have a normal family life.” 

But Lynne says the arrangement isn’t just special for the family - “the enjoyment I get out of it is tremendous.”

Video: Foster Carer Lynne Shaw says local families really appreciate the support from foster carers.

“I’d advise anyone who thinks they’ve got time to give families and children help to give it a go," she said.

"It’s incredibly rewarding, and the families really appreciate what you do.” 

Islanders can apply to be a Short Break Carer regardless of their age, background, ethnicity or marital status. Short Breaks can be organised around their existing employment and family commitments, and can be flexible. This may include providing personal care to the children if needed.

Short Break Carers will receive training, support and guidance from an allocated social worker. They will also receive a sessional allowance to enable them to provide high-quality experiences for the child they are caring for. 

children family play

Pictured: The support provided by Short Break Foster Carers was described as "invaluable" by the Housing and Children's Minister.

“Short Break Foster Carers provide invaluable support to children with complex needs, and their families," Minister for Children and Housing, Deputy Jeremy Maçon, said. 

"They give children with complex needs the change to experience new things, and develop their social and life skills. But they also give families a chance to step away from their caring responsibilities, spend time with their other children, and give them the breathing space they need to keep providing fantastic support. 

“I’d encourage any interested islanders to find out more, and to apply. You don’t need to be a specific type of person, or at a specific stage of life – you just need to have a commitment to supporting children and families, and some time to spare.”

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