WOULD you like to foster a child?
Chiefs at Lancashire County Council are making an urgent call for foster carers to look after children during the coronavirus pandemic.
People are being asked to consider whether a change in their circumstances during the current situation could leave them well placed to provide a loving home for a vulnerable young person.
Anyone who has fostered in the past is also being urged to think about coming forward and offer the benefit of their experience.
The demand for foster carers has not changed and the council still needs to find around 20 places every week for young people it cares for.
A new recruitment campaign being launched this week also aims to highlight all the support available to foster carers, and offer a big thank-you to everyone who is already fostering for their continued support during the pandemic.
County Councillor Philippa Williamson, cabinet member for children, young people, and schools, said: "The coronavirus situation has caused disruption to many of our services, but we're still taking on new foster carers, and need their support just as much as ever.
“We've made adjustments to the way we work in terms of the way we meet and conduct interviews with potential carers, and do home visits, but we remain committed to providing the same high level of support for our carers.
“We always need to recruit more foster carers, and while the pandemic may place different kinds of pressures on families than in normal times, we're hoping it may also open the door for people to become foster carers due to a change in their circumstances.
“Foster caring is an incredibly important role, the rewards are great, and you'll have the satisfaction of helping a young person through a challenging time in their life. There's no better time to get in touch with us if you're thinking about fostering.
“We're also particularly asking people who have fostered before to think about whether they could lend a hand in case of more demand being placed on the system as the pandemic continues.”
Foster carers could be asked to care for children and young people across a wide age range, from birth to 18 years old. There's a particular need for foster carers who could support an older child or teenager who need a safe and secure home environment through the current crisis.
Caring for vulnerable children is one of Lancashire County Council's highest priorities, and its fostering team are available 24/7 to offer support and advice. Foster carers also have access to their own social worker, a dedicated helpline and flexible training.
There is also a generous allowance for new foster carers, who can expect to receive between £241 and £300 per week for each child they care for.
County Councillor Williamson added: “I'd also like to say how deeply grateful we are for all our current foster carers, whose support is more important than ever at the moment.
“We know the changes to all our lives due to the current pandemic mean that many carers will be offering more support than usual to the young people they look after and I want them to know how that we are extremely thankful, and recognise the enormous contribution they are making.
“I also want to remind all our foster carers that we're right behind them, and here for them should they need any support and advice.”
Lancashire County Council welcomes new foster carers from all different backgrounds.
Foster carers need to be over 21 and have a spare room available by the end of the assessment process. To find out more visit https://www.lancashire.gov.uk/fostering or call 0300 123 6723.