Foster Care Fortnight highlights need in Stockton-on-Tees
Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council is pledging its support for a national campaign aimed at encouraging more people to consider fostering.
Foster Care Fortnight, taking place between Monday 13 and Sunday 26 May, celebrates the commitment, passion and dedication of foster carers as well as promoting the urgent need for more people to offer a space in their home for a child.
In support, the Council is holding an information session for prospective foster carers on Thursday 23 May between 2pm and 4pm at Norton Library.
Councillor Ann McCoy, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council's Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: "Foster carers are all types of people that come from a variety of backgrounds with a range of life experiences - basically, we're looking for anyone that can offer the stability, care and love that our young people need.
"Anyone who thinks they may be interested in offering a child a positive experience of family life is invited to attend the informal session. Come and have a chat with our staff and they'll tell you more about what is involved and the fantastic support package that is on offer."
Julie and Paul Snowball of Egglescliffe have been carers for more than 17 years and recently scooped the Council's Foster Carers of the Year award.
"I would say to prospective carers that fostering is the best thing you can ever do but there are challenges," Julie said.
"You're bringing a child into your family who has had lots of things happen in their life - they're not used to your lifestyle, there'll be times when they test the boundaries and you have to parent differently. But as long as you stick with it, you'll get there. We've found fostering to be incredibly rewarding over many years."
Fostering provides children with safe, stable and loving families when they are unable to live with their own parents. Children may need foster care because of family crisis, because parents find it difficult to cope or because children are suffering abuse or neglect.
Foster carers support children with day-to-day care, education, and look after their health and wellbeing. Placements range from respite and short-term to long-term, and some may even lead to adoption.
Foster carers get ongoing professional support and guidance from the Council, comprehensive preparation and training, as well as access to local support groups. They also receive a weekly allowance to cover costs.
Residents who are unable to attend the Information Session but are interested in finding out more can get in touch with the Council's Fostering Team for an information pack. Contact 01642 526218 or email firstname.lastname@example.org