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Why the need for foster carers has never been greater

Did you know that around 44,500 foster families in England care for 72 percent of the 80,088...

Did you know that around 44,500 foster families in England care for 72 percent of the 80,088 children in care?

That’s a lot of care and dedication, but sadly, it’s still not enough. Every year, thousands of new foster carers are needed. Concerningly though, March 2020 showed a 10% decrease in foster carer applications across England, compared to the year before. Consequently, this means that many children will spend much of their childhood in residential care rather than a family environment.

Changing the story

At Blackpool Council, we want to reverse the story with the help of the community. We are doing everything we can to reach out to local people and let them know just how rewarding fostering can be. As our very own community of foster carers will say, fostering is a life-affirming role.

Our foster carers receive carefully considered training to equip them with the skills and knowledge to bring stability to a child’s life. Beyond skill, our foster families give young people the opportunity to grow and flourish in a family environment, for however long that may be.

How do you know if you could make a great foster carer?

If you have an understanding, caring and nurturing nature, you could make a great foster carer. Yes, fostering can be challenging at times, but the personal rewards more than make up for it.
Essentially, you need to be able to offer a child or young person a stable, caring, and supportive family home. Somewhere they can thrive in and speak openly and honestly to you about their feelings. You will also need to be comfortable engaging with a child’s social worker and the wider network of people involved in their life, including their school.

In a way, it’s much like raising your own children, although with the support of a fostering team and broader foster community to help guide you.

There are a few practical considerations though, as you would expect. You must be over the age of 21, have a spare bedroom in your home, and be assessed (by our fostering service) as being able to foster.

Does it matter how old I am?

Many of the questions we are asked are around age. Some people in their 20s assume they are too young (when they can foster at 21). At the other end of the spectrum, some regard themselves as perhaps being too old.

You might be surprised to learn though, that as of 31 March 2020, 65% of the 71,150 approved foster carers in England, were aged 50 and over, and 25% over 60.

As long as you are assessed as being able to safely look after a child and have all the ‘ingredients’ for a caring family environment, we welcome applications from anyone aged 21 and over.

What you can expect from us

We are dedicated to your development and growth as a foster carer to ensure children receive the best possible support. That’s why you’ll receive an excellent training package, where you will be encouraged to gain professional qualifications.

The best part is that our training is easy to work around your commitments as a foster carer and is delivered in different formats, locations, and times to suit you.

Our commitment to supporting and training safe and loving foster carers changes outcomes for hundreds of children in care. But we can’t do it without people like you stepping forward in the first place.

If you think you could make a great foster carer or are even slightly curious about what it entails, we encourage you to have a chat with us.