You could join the hundreds of foster carers already discovering the rewards of sharing their lives with children who need a home.
In January, as part of the ongoing drive to find new carers, an information evening will be held on Wednesday 15 January from 6pm to 7.30pm at the Rossendale Children and Parenting Support Service, Newchurch Road, Rawtenstall BB4 7QX.
An information evening will also be held on Wednesday 22 January from 6pm to 7.30pm at County Hall, Preston.
Anyone thinking about becoming a foster carer is welcome to attend the events to find out more.
There is no need to book for the fostering information evenings – you can just turn up, but please arrive early to avoid disappointment.
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.
Drop-in surgeries will also be held in January, as part of the ongoing drive to find new carers, so that anyone who is interested can come and find out more.
The sessions will be held as follows:
Tuesday 7 January from 10am to 1pm at Burnley Library, Grimshaw Street, Burnley BB11 2BD
Tuesday 14 January from 10am to 1pm at Ormskirk Library, Burscough Street, Ormskirk L39 2EN
Tuesday 21 January from 10am to 1pm at the Harris Library, Market Square, Preston PR1 2PP
Tuesday 21 January from 10am to 1pm at Fleetwood Library, North Albert Street, Fleetwood FY7 6AJ
Tuesday 28 January from 10am to 1pm at Rawtenstall Library, Queen’s Square, Rawtenstall BB4 6QU
These events offer the chance to have a face-to-face meeting with an expert in fostering recruitment and assessment. They will be able to talk you through the process, and offer advice.
Current foster carers will also be available to answer questions.
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.
County Councillor Phillippa Williamson, cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said: “With around 20 Lancashire children needing homes each week, we need to recruit more 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, attending events and being in communities are more recent approaches that we have been trying out to recruit the new foster carers that are needed. We recognise that people have very busy lives, so these could be very useful ways of being able to talk to people who are interested in finding out more when they are busy with their daily activities.
“These events really are very informal to encourage people to have a chat with us.”
With around 20 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.
The county council has increased the allowances payable to new foster carers, so now they can expect to receive between £244 and £421 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