Too often, due to a lack of foster carers, children are placed with foster families away from their local communities, and sibling groups are separated. This warning comes from the UK’s leading fostering charity, The Fostering Network, joined by Caritas Care.
This issue is highlighted during Foster Care FortnightTM (9-22 May), the charity’s annual awareness raising campaign, as they call for more people to come forward to foster, to ensure that children in need of a foster home can be cared for locally.
In Lancashire, 1180 more fostering households are needed to make sure every child that can’t live with their own family gets the care they need and are well supported within their community.
Foster carers who can support sibling groups are particularly needed, to ensure that children can be cared for together and don’t lose vital connections to their family. We are also particularly keen to speak to prospective foster carers who can look after young people aged 10 years plus.
Sadly the number of children coming into care keeps rising. The reasons children become looked after vary widely, including a parent’s illness or another problem, which means they can’t be cared for by their own family. Some children may have witnessed domestic violence or drug abuse, and others may have been abused or neglected.
Some foster families look after children on a short-term basis, but for many, fostering offers them a secure, permanent home. Foster carers in Lancashire provide support and care in a family setting and enable children to stay in their local community with everything that is familiar to them. This minimises further disruption to their lives by helping them stay in their school, close to their friends, and maintaining connections with other family member.
Each child’s circumstances and needs are different but every child has the right to have their needs met within their own community, together with their siblings if they have any.
Rebecca Hughes, Foster Care Service Manager, says: ‘More people are urgently needed to come forward to foster, if we want to make sure that our children can stay local and be cared for in the community they come from..
‘If you have the space in your home and your heart, and the skills needed to help children thrive, please contact us. You can become a foster carer no matter your age, gender, relationship status or sexual orientation.
‘Our fostering family is open to anyone who wants to make a difference in a child’s life. We want to invite all the different communities in Lancashire to get involved in fostering. It is important that different identities are represented within the fostering community here in Lancashire and you will be made very welcome.
‘We are immensely proud of everything our foster carers do for children in care, and we can’t thank them enough. By supporting each other and working together as a unit, our fostering family makes sure that our children can grow up locally and safe, in a nurturing and loving environment, to reach their full potential.’
Foster Carer Emma says, “Becoming a foster carer has enhanced my life, it is sometimes not easy, it can be challenging, but it is extremely rewarding. Caring for other people’s children is a daunting responsibility but watching them grow is a huge privilege.”