Northamptonshire County Council is launching an urgent appeal for new foster carers after the number of children in care in the county has reached a record high.
There are currently almost 1,000 looked after children in Northamptonshire and the rise is due to improved processes in identifying children at risk and the increasing number of children coming into the county, both from within the UK and abroad.
A recruitment campaign is now being launched to encourage more people to think about becoming a foster carer in order to offer a secure, loving home to children and young people in need.
Almost half of the children in care in Northamptonshire are aged between 13 and 18, so there is a particular need to find foster parents for older children.
Cllr Matthew Golby, county council cabinet member for families and learning, said: “The number of children coming into care is increasing each year and Northamptonshire County Council, like many local authorities in the country, is facing a huge challenge in recruiting new fostering families.
“We simply don’t have enough foster carers, so we have to use expensive independent fostering agencies for some placements. We need to address this and that’s why we are asking people to consider whether they could foster a child.
“The biggest area of need is with children in care aged 13 and above. Looking after teenagers comes with many challenges, but we know from our foster carers that the rewards far outweigh these. There’s nothing more rewarding than knowing you’ve helped a teenager reach key milestones as they grow up.
“I would encourage anyone who thinks they could offer a stable, loving home to a looked after child to contact our fostering team to find out more.”
There are many different types of fostering, including short term, permanent, emergency foster care, remand foster care, providing homes for siblings or even short breaks for parents of children with disabilities.
Northamptonshire County Council offers a full training and support package for its foster carers, and carers receive a competitive weekly payment which is higher than the government recommended rates.
To find out more, visit www.fosterme.co.uk, call 0300 126 1009 or come along to an information evening on Wednesday 20th January at John Dryden House in Northampton.