The politician in charge of children’s services at Brighton and Hove City Council has spoken frankly about his own experience of being in foster care.
Tom Bewick, who became a councillor last month, chairs the council’s Children, Young People and Skills Committee.
On his blog he praised Mandy and Rob Goddard, who were recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
The couple, from Peacehaven, have fostered 65 children from Brighton and Hove.
Councillor Bewick wrote: “I was fostered myself, so I know what a great job these people do to provide support when it is most needed.
“The city is responsible for over 350 looked after children.
“I appeared on Latest TV to bang the drum for more recruitment of local foster parents.
Councillor Bewick said during his interview on Latest’s politics and current affairs show, The Vote, that he stayed with about 15 to 20 families from the age of 5 to 11.
It was only then that he was placed with a family where he was able to stay for the rest of his childhood.
He praised the stable and secure home life that his foster parents – Doreen and Phil – gave him although, like many children in care, he left school with few qualifications.
After night school classes – and studying for a degree in Brighton – he worked in the world of education and skills.
And he hopes that his mix of personal and professional experience will help him to ensure all children, including those in care, are given a better start in life, he said.
Councillor Bewick praised changes in the fostering and adoption rules that have brought more stability and continuity to young people’s lives.
He also spoke of the need for more foster parents in the area. Just over 150 foster children were placed with families directly by the council while just over 170 were placed by agencies.
Agency placements cost more – and the council is trying to keep a lid on its budget. Children’s services account for one of the biggest slices of its budget.
On his blog, Councillor Bewick wrote: “Contact me if you are interested in becoming a foster parent. I will put you in touch with the relevant team at the council.”
Or for more information, visit www.fosteringinbrightonandhove.org.uk or phone 01273 295444.