Val Hogan has been in foster care recruitment for six years and now runs her own company. Image: Val Hogan
A woman from Swinton, who recruits foster parents for not-for-profit charities, is appealing to the people of Salford to do their bit.
Val Hogan, set up Verve two years ago, an independent fostering recruitment company with a charitable purpose, and her current search targets carers for older children in particular.
Val, a 57 year old grandmother of two, said: “There are so many older children waiting for foster parents, and if they have been in residential care for a long time, they need to come out, because the longer we leave them in, the more institutionalised they’re going to be and the harder it will be when they come out of care.”
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She added: “Wherever possible we want to get our children back, so if we’ve got a child in care from Eccles, let’s find somebody from Eccles. If they’re back in their community, where they’re nearer their own family, they can pick up their own ties, they’ve got their own self-identity and that’s important.
“Salford people by definition are warm, generous, caring and supportive, so this is why the appeal is out there, we’re looking for older people to take on older children because they need structure, and support- it’s so important.”
Although children over 10 make up 38% of children in care, Val explains that people tend not to want to foster them due to myths surrounding “challenging teenagers”.
Those who apply to Verve are screened by Val, who then matches their skills and experience with the best not-for-profit fostering charity, which will provide support for both the children and the foster carers throughout their journey.
Val says that the pandemic has seen a rise in foster parent applications as people have learnt to appreciate family life more, but this has not kept pace with the increased demand it has also brought on.
“At the moment, during the pandemic, children are going away from home because parents can’t support them or there’s been bereavements or long-term sickness, so what we’ve got to do is find homes for them for as a long as they’re needed, even if it’s just for a short period.”
On top of recruiting foster parents, any money that Verve makes, goes back into work they do with charities across the country, many of which are based in Salford.
Val said: “My family have lived in Salford for generations, and I know the people in Salford, whenever I put an article out about the Salford Veterans, or the Salford food parcels or the Holiday Hunger club, or our recent knitting for poppies appeal, the people of Salford are so warm-hearted, if there’s a way they can help, they will do.
“If you’ve ever considered fostering, just do it, don’t otherthink it. Phone Verve to get some understanding, and let that dictate whether you’re going to move forward with it, and if that time isn’t right now, at least you’ve got a path that you can just pick up when it is, and that’s why I set Verve up. It’s breaking the myths about fostering.”
For more information, you can contact Verve on 07538134694, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit their website https://ververecruitment.org