Three islanders enquire to become foster parents after watching Christmas advert

Bill (left) is a foster carer, and Sarah (right) went through the care system herself before becoming a foster carer. Credit: ITV Channel Television

Three people in Jersey have been inspired to start the process of fostering since watching this year's John Lewis advert. They have enquired about the process with Jersey's Fostering and Adoption Team.

The storyline focuses on a man who is learning to skateboard as he awaits the arrival of his skate-obsessed foster child.

There are currently 30 foster carers in Jersey. During the pandemic, the number of carers halved due to the cost of living and as many people left the island or took up new jobs.

Sarah Wakeham, team manager of Jersey's Fostering and Adoption Team, says their aim is to increase the island's pool of carers again.

Sarah says foster carers are given an allowance to cover the cost of looking after a child. Credit: ITV Channel Television

She is urging anyone who thinks they might have the means and skills to look after and value a child to begin the fostering process:

"If you have been considering fostering or the John Lewis advert has triggered you, give us a call. We can take an enquiry and we can come and visit you at home, carry out what we call a 'first visit' and answer any questions you have about fostering.

"If you're keen to progress further down the road we can put you on our six-week training course, then you can learn about the role in real depth and see if it seems right for you."

Whilst some people might be interested in fostering a child, many are fearful that they do not fit the brief for being a foster parent.

Foster carer William Byrne says in the same way that there are different types of foster children, there are also different types of foster parents with different skill-sets:

"You don't have to be in a couple, you don't have to have a lovely comfortable middle class house, all you really need is a room.

"You don't even need the stuff to go in a room, that can easily be provided, you just need space to have a child living with you, and love, patience and understanding."

Fellow foster carer Sarah Pereira went through the care system herself when she was a child. She says her lived experiences allow to her connect on a deeper level with the children she fosters:

"I think being in foster care has made me open my arms, my house, my heart to these children because I do know what it feels like to be on the other side of the door.

"I know what it feels like to come from a broken home and have trauma."

You can find more details on fostering in Jersey here.