People who could change a local child’s or young person’s life and foster with Lancashire County Council are being urged to come forward.
The demand for foster carers has remained high during the current coronavirus pandemic. The council still needs to find around 20 places every week for the children and young people it cares for.
A campaign, launched earlier this week, is being promoted in many ways including on social media channels, and on radio.
It highlights the need for more foster carers and the incredible impact they can make on a child or young person at a time when it is really needed, whilst also enriching their own lives.
People are being asked to consider whether a change in their circumstances caused by the current situation could leave them well placed to provide a loving home for a vulnerable young person.
The county council is also urging anyone who has fostered with them in the past to think about coming forward to offer the benefit of their experience.
It is hoped that foster carers who are currently taking a break from fostering and retired foster carers will also come forward as they already have the skills and know how important fostering is for making a real difference to a local child’s life.
Becoming a foster carer could also be an ideal opportunity for anyone who is looking for a new challenge.
Also, anyone who has considered fostering previously, and whose circumstances are now different, are asked to come forward.
County Councillor Philippa Williamson, cabinet member for children, young people, and schools, said: “The coronavirus situation has caused disruption to many of our services, but we’re still taking on new foster carers, and need their support just as much as ever.
“We always try to place children with our own foster carers, but the high demand for places does make this challenging to achieve.
“While some children will always need to be placed away from the county for safeguarding reasons, or can be looked after by family, we want to ensure others get the opportunity to stay local.
“We’ve made adjustments to the way we work in terms of the way we meet and conduct interviews with potential carers, and do home visits, but we remain committed to providing the same high level of support for our carers.
“We always need to recruit more foster carers, and while the pandemic may place different kinds of pressures on families than in normal times, we’re hoping it may also open the door for people to become foster carers due to a change in their circumstances.
“Maybe the pandemic and the lockdown has made people think about their lives differently, and to re-evaluate their priorities.
“Foster caring is an incredibly important role, the rewards are great, and you’ll have the satisfaction of helping a child or young person through a challenging time in their life. There’s no better time to get in touch with us if you’re thinking about fostering.
“We’re also particularly asking people who have fostered before to think about whether they could lend a hand in case of more demand being placed on the system as the pandemic continues.”
Foster carers could be asked to care for children and young people across a wide age range, from birth to 18-years-old. There’s a particular need for foster carers who could support an older child or teenager who need a safe and secure home environment through the current crisis.
Caring for vulnerable children is one of Lancashire County Council’s highest priorities, and its fostering team are available 24/7 to offer support and advice. Foster carers also have access to their own social worker, a dedicated helpline and flexible training.
There is also a generous allowance for both new and experienced foster carers, who can expect to receive between £250 and £428 per week for each child they care for.
New foster carers will also receive specialised training and any necessary support from a team of psychologists and emotional health workers.
Lancashire County Council welcomes new foster carers from all different backgrounds.
Foster carers need to be over 21 and have a spare room available by the end of the assessment process.
To find out more visit www.lancashire.gov.uk/fostering or call our team on 0300 123 6723.