Local authorities across Staffordshire are appealing for more foster families to come forward to help vulnerable children.
"Change a future" is the latest campaign from Staffordshire County Council’s Fostering Service.
The rallying call comes alongside Foster Care Fortnight, the national campaign to highlight the urgent need for more foster carers which starts today.
Staffordshire fostercarers will officially launch their campaign live on Facebook from Market Square in Stafford at 12.30pm.
Every year, tens of thousands of children across the UK need someone to provide foster care and in Staffordshire alone, 60 more foster families need to be found this year.
Mark Sutton, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People at Staffordshire County Council said: “Changing a future is our theme for this year’s campaign and we hope that by showing people the difference that foster carers can make to a young person’s life, the more people will come forward.
“We all want to see children and young people get the best possible start in life and be able to realise their dreams, and that’s exactly what you could do as an approved foster carer for your local council.
"Continuity is so important for a child - including access to their extended family, friends and school so it’s vital we have a steady flow of local foster carers.
“All sorts of people can and do foster with us and you’re never on your own. There’s always advice on hand and lots of training available, so please get in touch if you think you can make a difference.”
Throughout the fortnight, Staffordshire’s foster carers will be calling in at the following towns between 10am-2pm:
- Monday 13 May, Market Square, Stafford
- Tuesday 14 May, Leek (outside co-op bank)
- Wednesday 15 May, Market Square, Lichfield
- Thursday 16 May, Coopers Square carpark, Burton
- Friday 17 May, Dovefields, Uttoxeter
- Monday 20 May, Outside St. Edithas Church, Tamworth
- Tuesday 21 May, Cheadle (back of Barclays)
- Wednesday 22 May, Stone High Street (outside B&M)
- Thursday 23 May, Market Square, Cannock
- Friday 24 May, Ironmarket, Newcastle
Newcastle foster carers Brian & Sandra Thompson have been fostering for 20 years. Sandra said: “Fostering is a really amazing and rewarding thing to do and we’re very excited about Foster Care Fortnight.
“We want to share our fostering experiences with those who are maybe considering fostering and we will be at the road shows for people to come and talk to us.
We really do love beingfoster carers. It really is so rewarding although it’s not without its challenges. But we would never change things and the rewards always outweigh the challenges.”
Rugeley foster carer Siobhan Palmer-Burke is 27 years old and is one of the county council’s youngest foster carers.
Siobhan said: “I’ve only been fostering for a few months now, but I am really enjoying it and it’s an absolutely great thing to do.
“There’s a really friendly fostering community here in Staffordshire and you’re never on your own. Other foster carers are always willing to give advice and help each other out.
"Add to that the support from the council’s fostering team and you really couldn’t ask for a better fostering experience.
“I’d definitely recommend people go along to the information evenings, you get to meet other foster carers and hear exactly what’s involved. You’ll also get the chance to talk to staff about all the great training that is available too.”
In Stoke-on-Trent foster carers and the children of families who foster will put their walking boots on to stride out in support of foster care fortnight.
They are joining a challenge in the city that will see fostering families walk 860 miles in two weeks – one mile for every child in care in the city.
The activity is to raise the profile of the need for foster families to come forward, and the vital role they play in the lives of children.
Events being run by Stoke-on-Trent City Council include:
- Monday, 13 May, monthly information event - 6.30pm.
Come to The Bridge Centre, Birches Head Lane, ST2 8DD on Monday, May 13, at 6.30pm, to speak to the recruitment team and experienced foster carers, with no obligation.
- Tuesday, 14 May, Men who foster group, 8pm-9pm
A support group for men who foster will meeting at Longton Rugby Club, Eastern Rise Sir Stanley Matthews Way ST4 8WG, to share their experiences.
- Wednesday, 15 May, Jobs Fair.
The team will have a stand at the Jobs Fair at Best Western Plus Stoke, Etruria Hall, Festival Way, Stoke-on-Trent ST1 5BQ between 10am and 1pm.
- Wednesday 15, Friday 17, Saturday 18 May, Wednesday 22, Friday, 24 and Saturday 25 May, drop in stall at Tunstall Market 9am -1pm
- Tuesday 21st May 11.30-2 – Hanley Shopping Centre front entrance – leaflets and an opportunity to talk to staff
- Thursday 23rd May 11.30-2 – Festival Park – outside mothercare – leaflets and an opportunity to talk to staff
- Friday, 24 May, drop in session from 2pm - 4pm Fenton Children's Centre
People can find out more about fostering with Staffordshire County Council at www.care4child.org/
More information from Stoke-on-Trent City Council on fostering is available here: https://www.stoke.gov.uk/info/20044/fostering_and_adoption