During Foster Care Fortnight (16-29 May), Hampshire County Council is urging more people to consider fostering and adoption – as figures from the national organisation ‘Fostering Network’ show a child comes into care every 20 minutes across the UK.
This means that during the fortnight, 1,008 children in the UK will need a foster care placement. In Hampshire, there are currently just over 1,000 children in foster care with one of the County Council’s 539 foster carers, or with other local authority or independent agency foster carers.
Councillor Keith Mans, Hampshire County Council’s Executive Lead Member for Children and Families, said: “As is the case across the country, we are always in need of more foster carers. There is increasing demand for children’s social care in recent years and the loss of foster carers because they may be moving away from the county or retiring, means that having sufficient foster carers is always a challenge. In the past four years, there has been a 17 per cent increase in the number of children needing foster homes, especially those between the ages of 10 and 18.
Over the fortnight, Hampshire County Council’s Fostering Team will be hosting information events across the county where members of the public can find out more about fostering. They will also be able to meet foster carers who can explain, from personal experience, the rewards and fulfilment that can be gained from being a foster carer.
Anyone who may be considering fostering is encouraged to go along to one of the events taking place at the following locations:
Ringwood – outside Waitrose in the Furlong Shopping Centre, 10am-2pm on Monday 16 May
Andover – outside Boots in the Chantry Centre, 10am-2pm on Thursday 19 May
Sparsholt Countryside Day, 9.30am-4.30pm on Saturday 21 May
Fareham – outside the 02 store in Fareham Shopping Centre, 10am-2pm on Tuesday 24 May
Winchester – next to Debenhams on Winchester High Street, 10am-2pm on Friday 27 May
New Forest Spring Fair, 10am-4pm on Saturday 28 May
Councillor Mans concluded: “If you can’t get to an event, please talk to the County Council’s Fostercare team on 0300 555 1384. They can provide information and advice to help you make the right decision for you. It’s a decision that could change your life. Finding the right homes for Hampshire children and supporting our foster carers is our priority. We welcome enquiries from anyone – regardless of age or background – who feels they are able to care for, nurture and support a child and believes they may have what it takes to foster.”
Find out more online at hants.gov.uk/adoptionandfostering. There is a range of fostering opportunities, including short or long-term fostering and all foster carers receive professional training, supported by regular on-going support.