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12 September 2016

Campaign launched to find foster carers for children in the North West

Family (Autumn)

Do something incredible - #fosterlocal #fosterforyourla

A region-wide recruitment campaign launches today (Monday September 12 2016) to highlight the need for more than 700 new Local Authority fostering households across the North West, inviting local people to do something incredible for children looked after in their area.

Cumbria County Council is one of 23 local authorities backing the #youcanfoster campaign which aims to meet the ambitious target for new carers.

The campaign is setting out to dispel some of the out-dated misconceptions about children in foster care and who is eligible to foster - and attract more people to step forward and find out more.

Across England around 52,000 children and young people are in foster placements, 9,000 of them in the North West* and 497 in Cumbria. Around 3,400 families foster for their local authority**, in Cumbria the county council already supports over 230 foster homes but more are urgently needed. For the vast majority of children looked after, a foster home can provide the stability and support needed for them to secure a better future. The campaign launched today is intended to help meet the challenge of replacing foster carers leaving due to retirement and natural turnover and an increase in the numbers of children looked after. In Cumbria, every year around 12 per cent of foster carers leave the service due to retirement so there is a constant need to recruit new foster carers.

Key elements of this latest campaign include a TV ad launching tonight during ITV’s Emmerdale and then running for two weeks; radio coverage on CFM, The Bay and Lakeland Radio plus a mass of online and social media activity.

Wendy Towers who fosters for Cumbria County Council with her husband Lee said:

“We got into foster care 5 years ago and we haven’t looked back. It breaks my heart to think that there are so many children out there without the loving and secure home they deserve. Fostering is the most rewarding job I’ve ever had.

“If you’re thinking about fostering, then go for it! Pick up the phone today to find out more, support is always available from other foster carers and social workers so you won’t have to go it alone.”

Cllr Anne Burns, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said:

“The council was keen to lend its support to the You Can Foster campaign, working in partnership with our neighbouring Local Authorities we are urging local people and families to step forward to find out more about the rewards of fostering.

“If you are interested in fostering then we’re here to help,  we already support well over 200 foster families in Cumbria but with more children needing supportive foster families there is always a need for more people to join in.

“If you’re considering fostering don’t rule yourself out, contact us to find out more, you could make the difference for a child looked after in Cumbria.”

Cumbria would particularly like to recruit foster carers who are able to care for:

  • Brothers and sisters.
  • Older children and young people - over half of all Looked After Children are 10 or older.
  • Children who need a long term permanent home with foster carers.
  • Children with complex or additional needs including behaviour that challenges - this includes the need for ‘short break’ carers (carers providing a variety of different types of part-time care. Stays for anything from a few hours each week to a couple of weekends each month, giving their own family or their full time foster carers a break).
  • Children and young people who need to become Looked After in an emergency helping to ensure as far as possible that young people and children entering accommodation in an emergency are placed within Cumbria whilst longer term plans are made. 

Without more foster carers coming forward some children may find themselves living a long way from family, school and friends or being split up from brothers and sisters.

For more information about fostering with Cumbria County Council please visit http://youcanfoster.org/cumbria or call 0303 333 1216 to speak to a member of our supportive Fostering Team.

A region-wide recruitment campaign launches today to highlight the need for more than 700 new Local Authority fostering households across the North West.