Give a child a stable family life

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Councils across the region are calling for more foster carers to give children and young people in need of care a stable home environment.

The call comes after research by the Foster Care Network charity revealed that 40 per cent of fostered teenagers are already living with their third foster family since coming into care.

Being moved from home to home can have a hugely detrimental effect on children’s education, wellbeing and ability to make and maintain relationships.

Not being able to find the right foster carer also means that children too often have to live a long way from family, friends and school and are split up from their brothers and sisters.

Finding the right foster carer, at the outset of a child’s journey in care, can lead to stability, improved relationships and a positive experience of childhood.

The findings highlight the need to find more people who are willing and able to foster teenagers.

There is also a real need for more foster families to offer homes to siblings and disabled children.

There are currently 5,380 children and young people living with foster families across the region.

Jackie Sanders, director of The Fostering Network, said: “As each year passes, we see more and more children coming into care. We need people who can open their heart, and their homes, to vulnerable children and young people and use their skills to help support them to reach their full potential.

“In particular we need people who have the skills, patience and passion to look after teenagers who may have had a really tough time and be facing some real challenges, and to offer them love, stability and security.

“Fostering services across Yorkshire and The Humber are working hard to recruit and support foster carers with the right skills so that each child who needs it can have the home and family they need and deserve.”

Usually a child in care will return to their own family but some face a more uncertain future and are unable to return home.

These children are in need of a long-term foster family, usually for the duration of their childhood, or until they are able to live independently.

Paul Johnson, assistant director for Family Support and Child Protection at Kirklees Councils, said: “Last year we successfully matched over 70 children with long-term foster families but the number of children entering the care system continues to rise year-on-year locally and nationally.

“This year, we urgently need long-term foster carers, but we’re also looking for people who can provide stable homes on a short-term basis, including older children and sibling groups.

“For children entering the care system it is often an emotional and confusing time. These children, through no fault of their own, find themselves uprooted from everything they know and need the stability that only a loving foster family can provide.

“We are urging people to think about the difference they can make to a child’s life.

“Although it can be challenging, foster caring is also fun, fulfilling and hugely rewarding. Being a foster carer means that you get to invest in a child’s future and help give them the start in life they deserve.”

Find out more about fostering, and supporting children in foster care and foster carers, by visiting fostering.net