Council chiefs are backing a campaign to raise awareness of foster care.
The annual campaign aims to raise the profile of fostering and to show how foster care can transform lives. It’s also the UK's biggest foster carer recruitment campaign, and runs until Sunday.
Today, over 64,000 children are living with almost 55,000 foster families across the UK. The Fostering Network estimates that a further 9,000 foster families are needed in the next 12 months alone, in order to ensure all fostered children can live with the right family for them.
In St Helens there is a particular need for foster carers to look after teenagers and brothers and sisters who want to stay together, but carers for young people of any age and respite carers are also needed.
St Helens Council offers allowances, training, help and advice. Applicants who take up the opportunity will be helped at every step of the way by the council’s fostering service.
Applications are welcome from those who are single, in a relationship, married or divorced, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
All are assessed on their own merits, and the type of care they could offer a child is the most important thing.
Applicants may have children of their own or experience gained in a care environment, or they may be keen to develop a career working with young people.
St Helens residents Paul and Sarah have fostered young people with their family for several years. Sarah, 47, said: “Being a foster carer has shown me just how lucky I was to grow up in a loving, caring household – it’s opened my eyes to the fact that a lot of children are denied that, and just what a difference you can make by opening your doors and hearts to them.
“I’ve learned first-hand about the resilience and strength of children, and it’s truly humbling. Seeing these kids blossom after being nurtured, after you’ve put in so much time and stuck with them through hard times, is so rewarding.”
Interested? The council’s fostering team would love to hear from you. Just call, 01744 671199 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, visit the website at www.sthelens.gov.uk/fostering