Stoke-on-Trent foster carers are urging residents to come forward to foster local children, as a two-week campaign gets under way to raise the profile of this much-needed role.
Foster Care Fortnight campaign runs from Monday 14 to Sunday 27 May.
The national campaign, led by UK charity The Fostering Network, aims to raise the profile of fostering and hopes to highlight the benefits of being a foster carer.
Maggie Cartlidge, 53, and her husband Danny have fostered for Stoke-on-Trent City Council for the last 12 months and says it's invaluable work.
She said: “All we've ever known is to be parents. We have four boys and a girl of our own.
To invite babies and children into our home and make them feel welcome, loved and teach them to become confident and independent is wonderful. It’s great to show them family life too. I would definitely recommend fostering. We were supported by the council throughout the process by brilliant staff.”
Foster care transforms the lives of children and young people. There are currently more than 700 children in care in Stoke-on-Trent. There is a real need to increase the number of foster carers the city council currently has in order to provide stable, secure and loving homes for local children.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council is staging and supporting various activities and events over the next two weeks to showcase the invaluable work done by local heroes and to encourage others to come forward.
An event will be held at Hanley Fire Station, Lower Bethesda Street on Monday 14 May from 6.30pm - 8.00pm where people who are interested in becoming a foster carer are invited to come along and find out more. At the drop-in session, foster carers will talk about their experiences and show first-hand how rewarding the role is. Staff from the fostering recruitment team will also be available to answer any questions. The informal session is a way to find out if fostering is right for you.
A recruitment event will take place at The Royal Stoke University Hospital on Tuesday 22 May in the foyer area. The city council is looking for foster carers who can provide long-term placements along with carers who would be willing to offer short-term respite for children with additional needs.
The city council has been working in collaboration with 15 other local authorities to deliver a unique film to raise fostering awareness and in particular the need to find foster carers for older children. The short film entitled There Was A Boy shows the story of a teenage boy and how the crucial addition of a foster carer shaped his life for the better.
Councillor Ann James, cabinet member for health and social care, said: “Foster Care Fortnight is a fantastic opportunity to highlight the important role foster carers play in providing loving homes for some of the city’s most vulnerable children.
“It takes a special type of person to be a foster carer and I hope that during the next two weeks we are able to encourage other potential foster carers to come forward. The difference you can make to a child’s life is one of the most rewarding things you could ever do.
“The aim of this year’s campaign is to show that people from all sectors of society will be considered to become foster carers. You don’t have to be a particular 'type' of person to be a foster carer."
Anyone wishing to foster can call Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s Fostering Team on 01782 234555.
Call the press office on 01782 236703.