Call for more foster carers in England

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Media release

PEOPLE ACROSS England are being encouraged to think about whether they could become foster carers, as part of Fostering in England Day, Friday 23 May.

The special day is an opportunity to celebrate the work that tens of thousands of foster families do across the country, as part of the Fostering Network’s Foster Care Fortnight (12-25 May).

51,000 children live with 43,000 foster families in England each day. The Fostering Network estimates that fostering services need to recruit a further 7,000 foster families in the next 12 months alone.

A recent YouGov poll found that across the UK, younger people, those over 55, single people and those with no children were less likely to think they could be accepted. Fostering in England Day gives a real opportunity to bust these myths, as in fact:
•    There is no legal minimum age to become a foster carer, though in general they will be 21+;
•    There is also no official upper age limit on being a foster carer;
•    Single people can foster as well as married or cohabiting couples;
•    There are many gay and lesbian foster carers;
•    Foster carers do not need to own their own home;
•    People don’t have to be parents to foster.

What is important is that foster carers have the right skills and qualities to look after children separated from their own families, who have often experienced abuse or neglect. Discover what these skills and qualities are with our skills checklist, explore the different types of fostering and learn about the road to fostering.

Foster Care Fortnight co-ordinator James Foyle said: “Foster carers across England do a great job in providing loving homes for tens of thousands of vulnerable children and young people every day.

“But we need more of them, particularly to offer home to teenagers and disabled children, and to keep brothers and sisters together. On Fostering in England Day we want to see more people who have the skills to foster coming forward to find out more.”

In support of Foster Care Fortnight, minister for children and families, Edward Timpson, who grew up with over 80 fostered brothers and sisters, said: "I wholeheartedly support Foster Care Fortnight. I know from personal experience what difference good quality foster care can make to the lives of our society's most vulnerable children, and that there are few things more rewarding them watching them progress and succeed.

"I hope that those who haven't considered fostering before, or those who have been thinking about offering a child a stable, loving home, will take this opportunity to put themselves forward, safe in the knowledge that it is not their age, sexuality, faith or gender that counts but the quality of their parenting."

For media enquiries and to arrange interviews with foster carers or our spokespeople, contact the Fostering Network press office on media@fostering.net  or 020 7620 6425. Follow us on Twitter @fosteringnet

Notes to editors

1. Foster Care Fortnight (12-25 May) is the Fostering Network’s annual campaign to raise the profile of fostering and to help fostering services attract and recruit new foster carers.

2. The Fostering Network is the UK’s leading charity for all those involved in fostering, and exists to make life better for fostered children and the families that look after them.