More foster carers needed in Northumberland to keep children within the community

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The #WhyWeCare campaign is being promoted by a leading foster care charity to ask more people to become foster carers.

A leading UK fostering charity has warned that more children are being separated from their local communities and siblings when placed with foster families.

The Fostering Network, along with Northumberland County Council Foster Care, highlighted the issue and called for more people to come forward to foster, to ensure that children in need of a foster home can be cared for locally.

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Northumberland foster carers, their families, children in care, local supporters and professionals are sharing the #WhyWeCare campaign to encourage more people to come forward and provide care for a vulnerable child or sibling group.

Councillor Guy Renner-Thompson, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Children’s Services at Northumberland County Council, said: “The council currently supports over 160 foster families, but with close to over 430 children in care, there is an urgent need for more people to come forward and join the team.

“You could make a real difference to the lives of local children and young people by offering them a stable home.

“We greatly appreciate everything our Northumberland foster carers do for children in care, and we can’t thank them enough.

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“By supporting each other and working together as a team, our fostering community makes sure that our children can grow up locally and safe, in a nurturing and loving environment, to reach their full potential.”

Foster charities are asking people to take in foster children and their siblings on a longer-term basisFoster charities are asking people to take in foster children and their siblings on a longer-term basis
Foster charities are asking people to take in foster children and their siblings on a longer-term basis | AFP via Getty Images

Graham Reiter, Service Director for Children’s Social Care at Northumberland County Council, added: “We want to make sure that our children can stay with foster families local to the communities they are familiar with.

“This minimises further disruption to their lives by helping them stay in their school, close to their friends, and maintaining connections with other family members.

“If you think you have the space in your home and your heart, and the skills needed to help children thrive, please get in touch. You can call us or join one of our face-to-face or online ‘Is fostering for me?” sessions.”

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Tynedale foster carer Diane had initially provided respite and short-term care before offering long term foster care for two siblings, alongside raising her own son.

She said: “If you’re thinking about fostering, you can change somebody’s life for the better. It’s a challenging job, and it’s surprising how you can grow as a person, because you’re making a massive difference to somebody’s life.

“We’ve seen these children grow; we’ve seen them change so much in the short time that we’ve had them. They’re happier, comfortable and safe, and we’re like a real family now. We really are.

“They have their own birth family, which is really important, but they call us their own family now.”

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