More Foster Carers Needed in Cumbria

Every home in Cumbria is being asked to think about whether they could become a foster carer for a child in need. There are currently more than 600 children in the area who need foster care, yet there are only 200 foster places in the county.

During Foster Care Fortnight (12th-25th May) events will be held throughout Cumbria to encourage people to consider whether they could offer a home to a child, be it for the short or long-term.

Cumbria County Council are appealing for new foster carers to come forward, stressing that whatever people’s age, race, employment status, gender, sexuality or living arrangements, they may be eligible to become a foster carer.

Cumbria City Council run a Fostering Friendly Employer Scheme which asks companies to consider recognising the needs of foster carers in their employment policies. The scheme gives local businesses the chance to support the work to recruit more foster carers and help Cumbria’s most vulnerable children. A supportive and flexible employer will enable foster carers to balance their work and caring responsibilities. Foster carers sometimes need to attend training and meetings about the child’s care and these companies offer the same flexible working conditions as other parents are entitled to. Each employer taking part in the scheme considers what it can do to help, be it time off for training, allowing staff to swap their shifts, or sharing information on fostering.

During Foster Care Fortnight a number of Fostering Friendly companies are supporting the cause by raising awareness of the need for more foster carers. These companies will be holding their own events, drop-in sessions and disseminating information through their websites, newsletters and social media.

Councillor Anne Burns is Cumbria County Council’s cabinet member for Children’s Services. She said:

“It’s important that we have a broad mix of households registered to foster all over the county. This means that each child will be placed with a family right for them so that they get to carry on with their lives, go to the same school and see their friends.”

“Our message during Foster Care Fortnight is don’t rule yourself out. There is no such thing as a typical foster carer. Your individual qualities are what matter to us and what you can offer to a child or young person. Our carers come from all walks of life, just like the children who need to be looked after. I’d encourage anyone who’s been thinking about it to take the next step, become part of Cumbria’s biggest family, and foster a child.”