Lancashire County Council is supporting a regional campaign to recruit new foster carers and ‘Do Something Incredible.’
With around 20 Lancashire children coming into care each week and needing urgent foster care placements, the county council is keen to lend its support to the campaign and attract local people and families to step forward and find out more.
The county council is one of 23 local authorities backing the You Can Foster campaign, which will launch on Monday 18 September, it will highlight the need for more foster carers.
During the campaign, the county council will be supporting the regional initiative, but also running its own campaign aimed at recruiting foster carers.
County Councillor Susie Charles, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Schools, said: “We are pleased to take part in this campaign. In Lancashire, we have 1923 children in our care and we need more people to provide the support and stable homes that these children and young people need to really thrive.
“We are always looking for new foster carers to look after the range of children who come into our care each week, with the greatest need being for foster carers for older children, sibling groups and children with additional needs.
“We have increased our allowances to foster carers this year in recognition of their valuable role in providing loving homes for the children in our care. There is also a rising demand for placements with more children and young people coming into the care of the local authority each week.
“We are looking for people who can foster all ages of children, particularly siblings who need to stay together and teenagers. No formal experience or qualifications are needed, all we ask is that you have a spare room available and a desire to make a difference to a local child’s life.
“People have a lot of preconceived ideas about why they might be ruled out as foster carers but the only thing that matters is the support you can offer the child. Whether you are older, single or never had children, you can foster. Foster carers don’t need superpowers, they just need to be able to provide a solid and reliable foundation for children and young people to find theirs.
“The campaign strapline is ‘Do Something Incredible’, and we know that fostering doesn’t just improve the lives of the children and young people who are fostered, it also has the power to enrich the lives of foster carers, their families and all those who are involved in fostering.
“If you are interested in fostering then your local authority is the best place to find out more. More people turn to their local authorities than any other fostering provider. Foster carers across the North West are benefiting from the local support and training we provide.”
New foster carers can expect to receive between £241 and £415 per week for each child they care for.
People who have considered fostering before but weren’t sure they could afford it are advised to come along to an information evening and find out if it could now be a viable option.
No formal experience or qualifications are needed to be a foster carer, all you need is a spare room available and a desire to make a difference to a local child’s life.
A package of support is available 24/7 to help foster carers in their role, including local support groups, their own social worker, a dedicated helpline and flexible training.
Recruitment priorities for Lancashire and the region include places for:
– Brothers and sisters – including sibling groups of 3 or more children/young people.
– Older children/young people – over half of all looked after children are 10 or older
– Children from black and ethnic minority backgrounds, in particular black or Asian children and increasingly those from new migrant communities
– Long term – where children and young people are not able to live with their own families for a number of years, if at all. Children and young people stay in a family where they feel secure, while maintaining contact with their birth family.
– Children with complex/additional needs including behaviour that challenges.
– Parents and children together – this involves having a child or children with one or more of the parents in your home and supporting them to care for their children. This type of fostering is challenging but rewarding and the enhanced allowances offered to foster carers reflect this.
Councillor Charles added: “We’ll be promoting this campaign in many ways over the next few weeks including on social media channels, on buses, billboards, at Preston Railway Station and on radio. Hopefully our messages will act as an incentive for people to come forward.”
As well as the number of events taking place throughout the county, there will also be a Fostering Information Evening at County Hall 20 September 2017 at 6pm. There is no need to book but please arrive early so the presentations can start promptly. You will have the opportunity to meet experienced social workers and current carers and ask questions.
The You Can Foster campaign this year will include a new creative writing competition to encourage children and young people in foster care and fostering families from all over the North of England to tell their stories and encourage a new generation of adults to sign up as foster carers. More information is available from 12 September at www.youcanfoster.org or
For more information about becoming a foster carer, or to find out more about the campaign, call the fostering recruitment team on 0300 123 6723 or visit the website: www.lancashire.gov.uk/fostering