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#ProudtoFoster campaign will highlight rewards of vital role

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Lancashire County Council will launch a campaign to recruit new foster carers this month featuring some of their own foster carers talking about fostering and why they are #ProudtoFoster.

With around 20 Lancashire children coming into care each week and needing urgent foster care placements, the campaign aims to attract local people and families to come forward and find out more.

Launching on Monday 19 November, the campaign will be promoted in many ways including adverts on Rock FM and 2BR radio stations, recorded by two of our foster carers. The campaign will also be promoted on social media channels over the next few weeks, featuring more of our foster carers highlighting the rewards of fostering and the need to attract more people.

County Councillor Susie Charles, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Schools, said: “We are pleased to run this campaign showcasing some of our fantastic foster carers. In Lancashire we currently have 2,070 children in our care and we hope that seeing the wide range of people who already foster with us will encourage more people to provide the support and stable homes that these children and young people need to really thrive.

“We are always looking for new foster carers to look after the range of children who come into our care each week, with the greatest need being for foster carers for older children, sibling groups and children with additional needs.

“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.

“We are looking for people who can foster all ages of children, particularly siblings who need to stay together, and teenagers. No formal experience or qualifications are needed, all we ask is that you have a spare room available and a desire to make a difference to a local child’s life.

“People have a lot of preconceived ideas about why they might be ruled out as foster carers but the only thing that matters is the support you can offer the child. Whether you are older, single or never had children, you can foster. Foster carers just need to be able to provide a solid and reliable foundation for children and young people to find theirs.

“We know that fostering doesn’t just improve the lives of the children and young people who are fostered, it also has the potential to enrich the lives of foster carers, their families and all those who are involved in fostering.

“If you are interested in fostering then your local authority is the best place to find out more. More people turn to their local authorities than any other fostering provider. Foster carers across the North West are benefiting from the local support and training we provide.”

New foster carers 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 come along to an information evening 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.

Recruitment priorities for Lancashire and the region include places for:

– Brothers and sisters – including sibling groups of 3 or more children/young people.
– Older children/young people – over half of all looked after children are 10 or older.
– Children from black and ethnic minority backgrounds, increasingly those from new migrant communities.
– Long term – where children and young people are not able to live with their own families for a number of years, if at all. Children and young people stay in a family where they feel secure, while maintaining contact with their birth family.
– Children with complex/additional needs including challenging behaviour.
– Parents and children together – this involves having a child or children with one or more of the parents in your home and supporting them to care for their children. This type of fostering is challenging but rewarding and the enhanced allowances offered to foster carers reflect this.

Councillor Charles added: “We’ll be promoting this campaign online including social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter. Hopefully our messages will act as an incentive for people to come forward.”

For more information about becoming a foster carer, or to find out more about the campaign, call the fostering recruitment team on 0300 123 6723 or visit the website www.lancashire.gov.uk/fostering.

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