Leading fostering charity The Fostering Network is calling for more under 35s to consider becoming foster carers.

The call comes during the second week of Foster Care Fortnight, as part of the charity’s campaign to help recruit 7,000 new foster families across the UK in the coming year.

Less than five per cent of foster carers are under 35, despite this age group making up about 20 per cent of the UK’s population.

More than 7,000 new foster families are needed in the coming year to ensure that all children can be found the right foster home first time, according to leading fostering charity The Fostering Network at the start of this year’s Foster Care Fortnight (8-21 May). The need is particularly for families to offer homes to teenagers and groups of brothers and sisters.

As English councils warn that social care services for vulnerable children are approaching breaking point in the face of funding shortfalls, Kevin Williams, chief executive of The Fostering Network, said: ‘For some years now we have been highlighting the impact of austerity on foster care and other services for children in care or on the edge of care.

Foster Care Fortnight 2017, Northern Ireland’s largest celebration of fostering, was launched yesterday (Monday 8 May) at an event in the MAC, Belfast  by The Fostering Network in partnership with the Regional Adoption and Fostering Service and hosted by the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust.