In a groundbreaking national collaboration, Lancashire County Council’s fostering service has joined forces with 55 other local authorities across England and worked together to share ideas and jointly fund the creation of a short film to raise awareness of fostering.
It is aimed at finding more people who may be interested in becoming foster carers and providing nurturing, positive homes for children and young people across the country who need them.
The new film, simply called ‘Childhood’, highlights the impact of neglect on children, particularly brothers and sisters who may be left at times to try and care for each other. It shows the journey of Sophie and Charlie who are in a very difficult home situation where their needs are not being met, to being nurtured and supported through foster care to attend school and be able to enjoy their hobbies and interests. In other words, have a childhood.
Lancashire County Councillor Cosima Towneley, cabinet member for children and families, said: “In Lancashire we urgently need more foster carers to provide a stable, loving and supportive home for local children and young people.
“Fostering a child or young person literally changes lives. There is no greater reward than that. We have lots of support and training available for all of our foster carers to help you along your journey.
“It’s great to be working alongside other local authorities across the country to raise awareness of the need for more foster carers. I also want to thank all our amazing and dedicated foster carers for helping to change the lives of children in Lancashire.”
‘Childhood’ was officially launched with a premiere at the Everyman cinema, Birmingham on 13th October, with an introduction from Kevin Williams, the Chief Executive of The Fostering Network, and Rachel Brown, project manager working with Council Advertising Network.
Kevin Williams, chief executive of The Fostering Network, said: “We continue to value and support foster carers but we urgently need more foster carers to come forward to care for children within their local communities. Foster carers are the bedrock of children’s social care; they are vital in our society and our young people rely on their care, dedication, passion and skills to support them when they need it most.
“Across the UK, around 9,265 more fostering families are needed, to make sure every child that can’t live with their own family gets the care they need.
“Currently, there are over 70,000 children living with almost 56,000 foster families in the UK, and the number of children coming into care keeps rising. The reasons children become looked after vary widely. We need more people to come forward to foster, to stand by their side and to be there for them no matter what.”
The project follows earlier, smaller partnerships between Coventry City Council and other councils in and around the midlands. Together with the film company ReelTwentyFive, they have produced several award-winning films to highlight the need for foster carers. The most recent, ‘Out There’, was released in October 2021 and is currently shortlisted for a Royal Television Society Award.
Rachel Brown, who has been a foster carer recruiter for a number of years, led on the national project, said: “Sadly, there is an unmet need for foster carers in the country today and there is likely to be an increase in this need. The cost of living crisis and other struggles families across the UK are facing creates and escalates difficulties for many.
“Having worked on previous projects we know that these beautifully crafted films have a real impact.
“The aim is that this film will be shared on social media and other platforms, right across the country, reaching many more people and leading them to consider whether the rewarding role of fostering could be an option for them.”
You can watch the film and find out more about fostering with Lancashire County Council at www.lancashire.gov.uk/fostering/events/childhood or give Lancashire County Council’s fostering team a call on 0300 123 6723.