Lancashire County Council is trying out a new approach to recruiting foster carers.
As part of the ongoing drive to find new carers, unique drop-in surgeries will be held in libraries 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 surgeries to answer questions, talk you through the process, offer advice and share their own experiences of fostering.
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.
The sessions will be held in libraries as follows:
Monday 28 January from 1pm to 6pm at Ansdell Library
Thursday 31 January from 10am to 3pm at Burnley Central Library
Wednesday 27 February from 10am to 3pm at Lancaster Central Library
Tuesday 26 March from 1pm to 6pm at Clitheroe Library
Tuesday 30 April from 10am to 3pm at Fleetwood Library
Tuesday 28 May from 10am to 3pm at Colne Library
County Councillor Susie Charles, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Schools, said:” With around 20 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.
“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 holding them in libraries 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 very useful way of being able to talk to people who are interested in finding out more when they are visiting a library. 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. If it proves to be successful we will roll it out to other areas. 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, for anyone 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.