[C]umbria County Council is proud to support this year’s Foster Care Fortnight campaign, which takes place from Monday 14 to Sunday 27 May 2018, by encouraging Cumbrians to consider providing a safe and caring home for a child, young person or sibling group.
The drive to recruit new foster carers in Cumbria is ongoing. The council already supports over 200 foster families, but with more children needing foster families there is always a need for more people to join in.
The Fostering Network’s annual Foster Care Fortnight aims to raise the profile of fostering and to show how foster care transforms lives.
Kaitlin*, 15, who with her sister, has lived with her foster carers in Cumbria for five years, said: “Being in care is an amazing experience for both the child and the foster carer. But what is it like to start with? At first when you are welcomed into a stranger’s home you are frightened and your family is miles away. But eventually it starts to feel safe, it starts to feel like home, but 10 times better.
“Being in foster care is so special as you choose to be together, you choose to be a family. For the foster carer it is life changing as you are giving a child a fresh start at life.”
County council foster carer Chris Torkington, from Barrow, loves to help transform the lives of local children. He said: “The main reason I love fostering is seeing the children come to you in quite a desperate and upsetting situation and when they leave they have a big smile on their face and you know you’ve made a massive difference.”
For the vast majority of children in Cumbria, a foster home can provide the stability and support needed to secure a better future. There is a particular need for foster carers who can care for babies (aged 0-2 years old), as well as those who can provide long terms placements, and care for older children and sibling groups.
During Foster Care Fortnight the council will be hosting drop-in sessions across the county in Barrow, Millom, Maryport and Penrith, for people interested in finding out more. They are informal and there’s no need to book.
Cllr Anne Burns, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “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. Together with the high number of children who need care, this means we are calling on local people to come forward and find out if being a foster carer could be right for them.
“There are many myths about who can become a foster carer, but what really matters is a that someone has the commitment, skills and ability to look after children separated from their own families, and to offer them a stable and secure home.”
Without more foster families coming forward during 2018 some children may find themselves living a long way from family, school and friends or being split up from brothers and sisters.
Members of the public can find out more about fostering and whether it could be right for them at www.cumbria.gov.uk/fostering/ or by calling 0303 333 1216. Members of the public considering fostering are also invited to attend an information event or drop-in session. Council staff and carers at these sessions are on hand to answer any questions about fostering or adoption.
- Wednesday May 16 – Maryport – Maryport Co-op, Curzon Street. CA15 6DA – 11am to 2pm
- Saturday May 19 – Barrow – Hotel Imperial, Cornwallis Street, LA14 2LG – information event starts at 2pm with tea and coffee, with a formal presentation at 2.30pm.
- Thursday May 24 – Penrith – Penrith Costa, Angel Square, CA11 7BT – 12 to 2pm
- Friday May 25 – Millom – Millom Guide Hall, St George’s Road, LA18 4DD – 12 to 2pm
*Name has been changed.