Coventry City Council has announced it will give its staff an extra five days of leave if they are applying to be a foster carer.
The move is part of a ‘fostering friendly policy’ introduced by the local authority to encourage more people to come forward to foster children.
The additional leave is designed to enable staff to attend meetings, home visits and training sessions and once approved they will be eligible for a further three days.
Julie McCann, who works as an early support key worker for the council and has fostered for 18 years, said the new policy had ‘taken the pressure off’ and hopes other employers follow suit.
‘This extra time allows me to attend those sessions and things like school and medical appointments without worrying about how much leave I’m using and whether I can still plan family holidays. It takes the pressure off me and my colleagues as we all know where we stand – it has made life so much easier.
‘You have so much to think about when you are fostering, even things like telephone calls to schools and this gives me the time to do that, I know that if meetings come up I have the time and I don’t have to panic.’
Councillor Ed Ruane, cabinet member children and young people, said: ‘As a council we want to make sure we get caring, responsible foster carers to help give children in need a loving home and the best possible start in life. And as an employer, we want to make sure our staff can provide that support and still have their career and not feel stressed about having to balance work and the busy role of a foster carer.
‘People like Julie are making a real difference to young children in Coventry and they do a wonderful job and we are trying to do our bit by making changes that make life a little easier for them and allows them the time to be the best foster carer they can be.’