Could you be a foster carer?
More foster carers are needed to help support some of the most vulnerable young people in Stockton-on-Tees.
For various reasons, some children and young people cannot live with their birth families and need to be looked after. This may be a result of family breakdown, relationship difficulties, neglect, abuse or parental ill health.
Foster families are needed to provide safe, stable and nurturing homes for children, teenagers, as well as groups of brothers and sisters.
Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council's Fostering team is hosting an information evening on Thursday 26 July between 5.30pm and 7.30pm at Stockton Central Library for people to find out more about the process of fostering as well as the support and training available.
Julie and Paul Snowball have been fostering for over 17 years and recently won Stockton's Foster Carers of the Year award. Julie said: "We've had challenges over the years but the highs of fostering have more than compensated. Seeing our young people progress to independence, having fun times together, enjoying holidays, seeing our girl in her prom dress - we've had many proud moments and much happiness from fostering."
Councillor Ann McCoy, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council's Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: "Our foster carers are inspirational people who open their homes to some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people.
"Foster carers come from all walks of life and all kinds of people may have the commitment, skills and experience to offer a child a positive experience of family. We urgently need more people to think about fostering and we'd encourage people to make an enquiry with the Council or come along to our event. It's informal and informative - a chance to ask questions over a coffee."
Those who go forward with the process of fostering a child get professional support and guidance, comprehensive training and access to local support groups. Foster carers also receive a generous allowance to cover weekly costs.
To book a place at the event or if you would like more information about fostering, call the Council's Children's Fostering and Carers' Team on 01642 526218.