Fostering campaign targets local carers

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Campaign to target foster carers in Merseyside. Pic  © National Fostering Agency

Campaign to target foster carers in Merseyside. Pic
© National Fostering Agency

More than a thousand foster families are needed across the North West this year to provide stable homes for increasing numbers of children who need them.

A report by the Fostering Network confirmed that last year over 3,000 children, including teenagers, children with disabilities and sibling groups, were put into care across the region. At the same time, around 13% of foster carers retired or left the service.

Jackie Sanders, director of public affairs at the Fostering Network, hopes to reduce this amount by 2018 and encourage local new and existing carers to open up their homes.

She said: “Fostering can be an incredibly rewarding career and lifestyle choice for those who do come forward. Fostering is also a challenging job, and when the match between foster family and child is not right, it becomes even more difficult.

“A wider pool of foster carers enables fostering services to be able to match the needs of each child more closely with the skills that each foster carer brings, and to find the right home for each child, first time.”

With over 7,000 fostering families approved in England last year alone, the National Fostering Agency (NFA) is hosting ‘Fostering February’, which is designed to raise the profile of the shortage of foster care.

The campaign will involve a road show tour, making its way across the UK during the month to provide an opportunity to speak to experts and get information.

Iain Owen, from NFA, said: “So far we have received unprecedented support, with over 3,500 people ‘liking’ the Facebook page and sharing stories.  Of the many comments made on the page, we have been able to address some of the myths that surround fostering such as age and marital status being problems.”

Children’s charity Barnardo’s has also launched its own campaign in the last month with the help of some famous faces. These include Dame Shirley Bassey and Christopher Biggins who will help to enlist 25% more foster families in the Merseyside region.

A spokeswoman for the NFA’s North West office told JMU Journalism: “We are keen to emphasise that people should not rule themselves out from expressing an interest in the role of potential foster family. There is no upper age limit and we’re keen to encourage diverse folk to step up.”

About Imogen Sweeney, JMU Journalism