You could join the hundreds of foster carers already discovering the rewards of sharing their lives with children who need a home.
Over the next few weeks, as part of the ongoing drive to find new carers, drop-in surgeries will be held, attended by foster carers and staff from Lancashire County Council’s fostering service. They will be on hand to answer questions, talk you through the process, offer advice and share their own experiences of fostering.
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.
This is one of the events that Lancashire County Council is holding throughout the county during the latest campaign to recruit new carers. The campaign is running until Sunday 6 October.
The surgeries will take place as follows:
• Thursday 19 September from 10am to 12noon and then from 2pm to 4pm at the Lane Ends Surgery, 200 Tulketh Brow, Preston PR2 2JJ
• Tuesday 24 September from 10am to 1pm at the Harris Library, Market Square, Preston.
• Saturday 28 September from 10am to 12 noon at the Nationwide Building Society, Fishergate, Preston.
• Saturday 28 September from 10.30am to 4pm at Preston Pride, the Flag Market, 4 Cheapside, Preston PR1 2AP
Similar surgeries and attendance at community events will take place across the county over the coming months, so that anyone who is interested can visit informally and find out more.
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.
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.
“Going along to one of these surgeries could be a quick and easy way to find out if this could be for you. You’ll be able to talk to our friendly team and our foster carers about what it is like to foster in an informal setting.
“Holding drop-in surgeries and holding them in libraries are both different approaches we have been trying out to recruit the new foster carers that are needed. We recognise that people have very busy lives, so this could be a very useful way of being able to talk to people who are interested in finding out more. It should particularly make it easier for people to talk to us if the library is located close to where they live.
“These events really are very informal to encourage people to have a chat with us. Just check our website on a regular basis for up-to-date information.”
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.
Future information evenings will also be held at County Hall in Preston and venues across the county, for anyone who can’t make this drop-in surgery and is thinking about becoming a foster carer. Foster carers and staff from Lancashire County Council’s fostering service will also be attending community events during the year.
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.