People are needed to help foster the 725 youngsters in care in Cumbria.
Cumbria County Council’s fostering service is looking for enthusiastic, committed people to come forward and consider fostering children and young people.
While the council supports around 275 foster carers already, there are 725 children and young people in care across Cumbria.
The greatest need is for carers for 10 to 16-year-olds, sibling groups, and children needing permanent or long-term placements.
Rosie and Claire Crewdson-Price, of Egremont, are parents to two boys aged 15 and 22 and were approved as foster carers for the authority’s Adolescent Care Team last year.
ACT foster carers support young people in residential care to step down from residential back into a fostering ‘home’ environment.
Claire said: “I’d always wanted to foster and always wanted to look after teenagers as they are the ones who get ‘left on the shelf’ because most people want to foster babies.
“We find it easier working with teenagers because they might shout and slam doors but at least they are communicating and telling you what they want and what they need.”
Rosie said: “We’ve had quite a few challenges but we’ve always had the support from the social workers and not only from them but from our foster carer mentor, from the school and from family and friends – it is really important to have that network around you.”
Claire added: “I think the reward for us is seeing the change in our foster child. The biggest change was to see a smile on his face, to see the change in his demeanour; how he interacted with other children and his excitement about going out for a meal or staying in a hotel – things other children often take for granted.”
Rosie said: “I would encourage anyone thinking about becoming a foster carer to go ahead and find out more. You get a lot of rewards from it and you can have a big impact on the life of a young person.”
Foster carers come from a diverse range of backgrounds, cultures and ages. They can be unemployed, working or retired and be living in rented accommodation or own their own home. People who want to apply must simply be over the age of 21, have a spare bedroom in their home and have an empathetic, caring, and resilient nature.
As one of the council’s foster carers you will receive a full package of support, training and generous payments and allowances.
Councillor Anne Burns, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “It is vital that we find the right foster carers to support more of our older children, who often have the most challenging behavioural and emotional needs.
“We know that the stability and love of a family environment can really help these young people to reach their full potential and we hope to find those special people to help them make the transition into adulthood.”
An online information event for people interested in fostering takes place on Tuesday September 28 from 6.30pm to 8pm.
For more information, visit cumbria.gov.uk/fostering or call 0303 333 1216