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Dorset’s Children in Care Awards: “Everybody’s an individual and everybody matters”

Dorset County Council has held its annual Children in Care awards.

The awards celebrate the achievements of foster families, the children they look after and the youngsters who are leaving care. Over 100 awards were presented at an emotional ceremony at Bryanston School on Saturday 29 September, attended by some 300 people.

Awards included the recognition of birth children who have welcomed foster children into their homes, educational qualifications gained by looked-after young people, and adult carers for their long service and outstanding contribution to fostering. Councillor Andrew Parry, Cabinet member for education, skills and learning, praised the dedication of foster carers before expressing his pride as a ‘corporate parent’ to the 450 foster children currently in Dorset: “Our aim is to help children in care fulfil their potential and achieve their dreams. We don’t have just one plan for these 450 children – we have 450 plans for them, because everybody’s an individual and everybody matters.”
Director of Children’s Services, Nick Jarman, and Cllr Andrew Parry with Niall and Toby – two of the many wonderful children who help their parents to foster. Brothers Toby and Niall (pictured) collected a Significant Achievement award on behalf of Michael, a care-leaver who their family fostered. Michael couldn’t attend the award as he is on a placement year in America as part of his Biomedical Science degree at the University of the West of England. Michael sent a message to say that being in foster care was “the best thing that ever happened” to him.

Mayor of Dorchester, David Taylor, who himself grew up in care, treated the audience to a ‘floss-off’ with the children. He said: “The inspirational people here today prove what a fantastic environment fostering can be. Their love, joy and commitment to bringing up children to the best of their ability is clear – and they’ve done a fantastic job.” More foster carers are urgently needed across Dorset to help make a difference to the lives of children in care. If you might be interested in fostering, you can find out more here, or get in touch: 01305 225568 or fosteringenquiries@dorsetcc.gov.uk