You could join the hundreds of foster carers already discovering the rewards of sharing their lives with children who need a home.
This month, as part of the ongoing drive to find new carers, a drop-in surgery will be held at Chorley Council’s Civic Offices on Union Street, in the one stop shop area. The event will be held on Tuesday 15 October from 10am to 3pm.
Another event will also be held on Tuesday 29 October at Longridge Library, on Berry Lane, Longridge. The event will be held from 1pm to 4pm.
Similar events will be held in libraries and other venues across the county over the coming months, so that anyone who is interested can visit informally and find out more.
An advantage of attending the events is that your eligibility can be checked on the spot and an initial home visit booked immediately, to fast track you through the process.
Current foster carers and staff from Lancashire County Council’s fostering service will be on hand at the surgery to answer questions, talk you through the process, offer advice and share their own experiences of fostering.
An information evening will also be held on Tuesday 15 October at Lancaster Community Fire Station, on Cable Street. Anyone thinking about becoming a foster carer is welcome to attend the event, from 6pm to 7.30pm, to find out more.
Members of Lancashire County Council’s fostering team, as well as social workers and current foster carers, will be available to answer questions, talk you through the process and offer advice.
There is no need to book for the fostering information evening – you can just turn up, but please arrive early to avoid disappointment.
With around 20 additional Lancashire children coming into care each week and needing urgent foster care placements, the county council is keen to attract local people and families to step forward.
Some need foster care for a few days, while others need a longer period of care for up to a year or more.
Foster carers could be asked to care for children and young people across a wide age range, from birth to 18-years-old, and are encouraged to consider as many ranges of children’s needs and age groups as possible. However new foster carers may feel more comfortable in caring for a specific age group when initially approved, whilst building up their confidence and experience with the support and guidance of the fostering team.
Respite carers, needed to look after children and young people for short periods of time, like weekends and during school holidays, are also now encouraged to come forward. This could be for looked after children where they need a short break, or for children with disabilities.
County Councillor Phillippa Williamson, cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said: “With around 20 more Lancashire children needing homes each week, we need to recruit new foster carers.
“We have increased our allowances to foster carers 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.
“Holding drop in surgeries, and in community buildings, are both new approaches that we are trying out to recruit the new foster carers that are needed. We recognise that people have very busy lives, so this could be a useful way of being able to talk to people who are interested in finding out more.
“These events really are very informal to encourage people to have a chat with us. If it proves to be successful we will roll it out to other areas.”
The county council has increased the allowances payable to new foster carers, so now they can expect to receive between £241 and £300 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 go along to a drop in surgery and find out if it could now be a viable option.
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.
If you’re unable to go along to a drop-in event, call the fostering recruitment team on 0300 123 6723 or visit www.lancashire.gov.uk/fostering.