South Gloucestershire Council launches appeal for more foster carers

Foster carers Lucy Fullard, Sandra Smith, Kelly Bevan, Lucy Pook, Jacqueline Jarrett, Jackie Coombs and Rachael Rushent at the launch event at The Mall at Cribbs Causeway

Foster carers Lucy Fullard, Sandra Smith, Kelly Bevan, Lucy Pook, Jacqueline Jarrett, Jackie Coombs and Rachael Rushent at the launch event at The Mall at Cribbs Causeway

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SOUTH Gloucestershire Council has launched a major campaign to find more foster carers in the district.

The authority places round 100 children and young people in care each year but only has 80 households on its books to take them in.

It says more places are needed as demand for foster care is growing.

Cllr Ian Blair, chairman of the council’s children and young people committee, said: “We are facing a shortage in the number of foster carers in the area to care for older children and we need more people to come forward and provide what is a vitally important role in a young person’s life.

“Children and young people, including siblings, need stability and someone to care for them, as well as guiding them through an important time in their life.”

He added: “We’re seeking families, couples and individuals from all backgrounds who can welcome often vulnerable children into their homes and bring new opportunities into their lives.

“The important thing is that our carers have the time and patience to care for a young person, child or siblings.”

Nationally there are more than 62,000 children in foster care but there remains a shortage of carers, with at least 9,000 more needed in 2014.

Jackie Coombs, 50, currently fosters a teenage girl at her home in Yate but has been fostering for four years.

She said: “Fostering has been in our extended family as long as I can remember.

“The idea of fostering for us came about from discussions amongst all of the family. Realising that we had suitable space in our home it was something we were passionate about. We believed we had the skills required to be successful in fostering and we’d seen so many positives in the fostered children within our family.

“So now my family and I find ourselves four years down the line, having had many varied placements, mostly teenagers. Fostering has fulfilled all of our expectations and much more. The positives have outweighed any challenges presented. The training offered has been invaluable.”

She said anyone considering fostering must be patient, approachable and committed and be able to listen.

She added: “To give just a little can mean so much and can make all the difference.”

The council is also calling on local organisations, from the police to sporting clubs, parents’ groups to youth organisations, to support the campaign by raising awareness among their members and staff to help recruit more carers.

The council is also looking for people to become Share the Care carers and provide short breaks for disabled children and young people, including those with learning difficulties or autism.

Anyone interested in becoming a foster carer should contact South Gloucestershire Council by calling 0800 2061443 or via www.southglos.gov.uk/fostering

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