A FOSTER carer from Crewkerne has encouraged more people to help play a pivotal role in ensuring struggling families stay together. 

Belinda Pickard has been a foster carer for three-and-a-half years and said she decided to become part of Somerset County Council's parent and child care scheme.

She said: “When I found out about parent and child fostering I was really interested and thought I could help more than one person at a time, I could help a whole family and I know the child in the situation is safe.

“I had always thought, in my own mind, that I would be helping young girls who perhaps didn't have their own family for whatever reason and they needed a mum to show them how to be a mum. That was completely shattered when my first placement was 36 and she was on baby number six, so completely different to what I thought it would be.

“For me, the best bits are when you see the family progress and do really well and become confident and good enough parents.

“Before I did this I had been a mum but I hadn't any other experience of working with teenagers or babies other than my own, and if I can do it lots of people out there can do it.”

Carers receive a fee of between £125 and £250 a week for working full-time with the parent and child and contributing assessment information.

The council also pays two fostering allowances of between £140 and £242 each to cover the costs of looking after the parent and child.

Somerset County Council's next fostering information evening is on Monday from 7-9pm at Staplegrove Village Hall, Taunton or you can call 0800 587 9900 for an information pack.