A region-wide recruitment campaign launched today (Monday, September 12 ) will highlight the need for more than 700 new Local Authority fostering households, and invite people in Liverpool to do something incredible.
Liverpool is one of 23 local authorities backing the #youcanfoster campaign which aims to address the North West’s fostering goals.
Local authority professionals behind the campaign want to dispel some of the out-dated misconceptions about children in foster care as well as those around who is eligible to foster – and attract more people to step forward and find out more.
Across England around 52,000 children and young people are in foster placements, 9,000 of them in the North West.* Around 3,400 families foster for their local authority.*
In Liverpool, over 1,000 children are looked after by Liverpool City Council and around a third are in need of a foster home. There are around 300 foster carers working for the city – but more are always needed.
Securing a stable home environment for foster children is vital if they are to have the best chances in life and realise their ambitions. The campaign launched today is aimed at replacing foster carers leaving due to retirement and natural turnover, combined with an increase in the numbers of looked after children.
Pru White, 32, from south Liverpool, has fostered five children over the last four years with her husband. They have two children of their own and have cared for everything from newborn babies to an 11 year old.
She said: “Fostering is something I’d wanted to do since I was a child as I know people who’ve been fostered and adopted.
“We felt that after having our second child we still had a lot of love to give and a friend encouraged us to apply. I can’t deny that it was a very nerve wracking process and it makes you really look at yourself and your life in a different way, but it is really humbling that you are being considered to care for a child.
“I would really encourage everyone to consider fostering – it changes you as a person and I have never laughed and cried as much in my life, but I would not change a thing. It has enriched the life of our family massively. I would encourage people not to wait until their own children have flown the nest – do it now because it will really benefit your own kids.”
Councillor Barry Kushner, Liverpool’s Cabinet member for children’s services, said: “There are many myths about foster caring such as you need to own your own home or that there is an age limit. The truth is that the only thing that matters is the support you can offer the child.
“Whether you are older, single or never had children, you can foster. Foster carers don’t need superpowers, they just need to be able to provide a solid and reliable foundation for children and young people to find theirs.
“We need more foster carers registered with Liverpool City Council to offer a loving and stable home to the most needy children in our city.”
Pru added: “We’ve been really well supported by Liverpool children’s services and I am hugely passionate about the work that social workers do because they have one of the hardest jobs on the planet. They don’t get thanked enough or the recognition they deserve. The fact is that I could not be a foster carer without them. They don’t just support us professionally but also emotionally as well.”
Charlotte Ramsden, a Strategic Director of Children and Adults Services representing You Can Foster said: “In the UK as whole and even just the North West, we have thousands of children who need foster care and we need more carers to provide the support and stable homes that these young people need to really thrive.
“If you are interested in fostering then your Local Authority is the best place to find out more. More people turn to their Local Authorities than any other fostering provider. Foster carers across the North West are benefiting from the support and training they provide.”
Recruitment priorities for the region include places for:
– Brothers and sisters – including sibling groups of 3 or more children/young people.
– Older children/young people – over half of all Looked After Children are 10 or older
– Children from BME communities, in particular black children and increasingly those from new migrant communities
– Long term – where children and young people are not be able to live with their own families for a number of years, if at all. Children and young people stay in a family where they feel secure, while maintaining
contact with their birth family.
– Children with complex/additional needs including behaviour that challenges – this is an identified priority for a number of Local Authorities including the need for ‘short break’ carers (carers providing a variety
of different types of part-time care. Stays for anything from a few hours each week to a couple of weekends each month, giving their own family or their full time foster carers a break.)