New support hub launches in North East with mission to recruit foster carers

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With over 6,000 children currently in care across the North East but just over 1,500 approved foster carers available (33% less than a year ago), there is an urgent need to recruit new carers.

In a direct response to the call for more foster carers, Foster with North East - a new and first-of-its-kind collaborative partnership between 12 local authorities from across the North East of England - has been created.

The newly launched hub seeks to support prospective foster carers in the region through their full journey, from initial enquiry, application and beyond. The hub will act as a first point of contact for those interested in fostering to help them make an informed choice about how fostering could work for them.

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Jill Colbert OBE, chair of the Foster with North East Project Implementation Board said: “There has been a decline in the number of foster carers across the North East and we as a region recognised that something needs to be done to encourage more people into foster care.

Foster carer Liz Pickering.Foster carer Liz Pickering.
Foster carer Liz Pickering.

"Whilst we know 64% of people are inspired to change a child's life through fostering, many don't realise they can and, as a result, don’t make the initial enquiry. We want to bridge this knowledge gap and dispel myths around who is eligible to foster, to ensure we recruit a diverse range of carers across the region.”

Northumberland based foster carer Liz Pickering said: “My husband and I have spent the last 35 years doing long and short-term fostering, and I can honestly say it really is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. There are so many different kinds of fostering to consider – you just have to find what works for you. I’m so pleased we did it. Every child deserves a loving home, and it’s amazing to see the improvement you can make to their lives.”

Cramlington-based foster carer Kath Nixon, former family lawyer, who has been fostering for over 16 years, said: “I’d encourage anyone who is considering fostering a child to do so – it gives you a real opportunity to have a life-changing impact on young lives. I’m a long-term carer, currently looking after three children who all have complex needs. It’s the most challenging but fulfilling thing I have ever done."