If you’ve ever thought about becoming a foster caring but wanted to talk to someone first, now’s your chance.
Durham County Council’s fostering service is holding three information sessions in the city in the weeks ahead to give people the opportunity to meet carers and its staff, and ask questions they may have.
Anyone interested can learn more about the support that’s available.
This includes extensive training, your own fostering social worker, local support groups and a wide range of professional support to help you care for a child.
Feedback from children who have been fostered shows they want carers who make them feel safe and secure, support them and love them.
The sessions have been organised to coincide with Foster Care Fortnight, an annual awareness campaign to raise the profile of fostering and the need for more carers, which runs from 16 to 29 May.
It is estimated that 9,070 foster families are needed across the UK, with 475 sought in the North East.
Florence Coulter, the council’s fostering team manager, said: “In County Durham, we have a real need for foster carers who can provide children and young people with the love, security and stability that family life can offer.
“We need more foster carers so that children are not living a long way from their home and family and are not split up from their brothers and sisters, and are placed with a carer who can provide them with the care that they need.
“We are looking for foster carers who can care for children from a few nights, weeks, months or for the rest of their childhood until they reach adulthood.
“We would like to say to anyone thinking about fostering that now is a great time to find out more.”
Kevin Williams, chief executive of The Fostering Network, said: “Fostering is an immensely rewarding and professional role, and it takes very special qualities to be a foster carer.
“Foster care can provide children with a home for as long as they need it, and this survey shows that children and young people want stability during their time with a fostering family.
“If you have room in your heart, and in your home, then 2016 could be the year that you start to make a positive difference to a child – a positive difference that can last a lifetime.”
The information sessions take place: on Saturday 21 May, between 10.30am and 1pm at County Hall, Durham; Friday 27 May, between 10am and 12pm, Durham Town Hall; and Tuesday 14 June, between 4.30pm and 6.30pm, County Hall, Durham.
Anyone who would like further information on the sessions or becoming a carer can contact the Fostering Service on 03000 269 400 or visit www.durham.gov.uk/fostering