Image demonstrating More foster carers are needed in Northumberland to keep children within their communities

More foster carers are needed in Northumberland to keep children within their communities

Too often, due to a lack of foster carers, children are placed with foster families away from their local communities and sibling groups are separated.  
This warning comes from the UK’s leading fostering charity, The Fostering Network, joined by Northumberland County Council Foster Care.  
This issue is highlighted during Foster Care Fortnight (9th –22nd May), the charity’s annual awareness raising campaign, as they call for more people to come forward to foster, to ensure that children in need of a foster home can be cared for locally.  
Northumberland Foster carers and their families, children in care, local supporters and professionals in Children’s Services are sharing #WhyWeCare to encourage more people to come forward and provide care for a vulnerable child or sibling group. 
Councillor Guy Renner-Thompson, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Children’s Services at Northumberland County Council, said: “The council currently supports over 160 foster families, but with close to over 430 children in care, there is an urgent need for more people to come forward and join the team.    
“You could make a real difference to the lives of local children and young people by offering them a stable home.    
“We greatly appreciate everything our Northumberland foster carers do for children in care, and we can’t thank them enough. By supporting each other and working together as a team, our fostering community makes sure that our children can grow up locally and safe, in a nurturing and loving environment, to reach their full potential."  
Graham Reiter, Service Director for Children's Social Care at Northumberland County Council, added: “We want to make sure that our children can stay with foster families local to the communities they are familiar with. This minimises further disruption to their lives by helping them stay in their school, close to their friends, and maintaining connections with other family members.  
“If you think you have the space in your home and your heart, and the skills needed to help children thrive, please get in touch. You can call us or join one of our face-to-face or online “Is fostering for me?” sessions.”  
You can list to their #WhyWeCare stories here. 
George, 12, from Morpeth

Backing the campaign is 12-year-old George, from
He said: “It’s like having a friend who’s always there. I quite like it when we teach each other different things – like he was teaching me how to do a pull-up in the park, which was quite fun - and just playing games with each other. 
“If you are worried that there may be arguments with you or your parents, then don’t worry about it because it means they are comfortable about bringing their opinions and that they feel part of the family.” 
Mum, Michelle added: “I was told that I would never be able to have children, so George was our miracle baby. We always hoped it would happen again and we could have more children, but unfortunately it didn’t.  
“I knew that George really wanted a brother, or a sister and he said he felt quite lonely sometimes as an only child. We talked about fostering as a family as we felt it was also an opportunity to give something back to others.  
“We are so pleased that we did. There have been challenges, but we’ve worked through it together and I’m very proud of George for supporting this campaign and helping to share what foster caring means to him.”   
Laura, from Berwick

Laura, 34, from
Berwick, provides short-term foster care for babies and describes it as “the best job in the world.”  
Laura, who has a six-year-old daughter, said: “People often ask me – how do you give them back? It is tough to say goodbye, but when you see that moment that they meet their forever family and you see that joy and happiness, it is so exciting. I also have an amazing social worker who supports me.  
“I see myself as a stepping stone – we love them, we care for them, they become and are part of my family – all my relatives love them too.  
“I have kept in contact with the families and I get pictures on birthdays and see them a couple of times a year. I feel they are always a part of our family, wherever they are.” 
Jonny and Dean from Blyth Valley

Partners Jonny and Dean from Blyth Valley decided to apply to become long-term foster carers after feeling they had “so much more to give.” 
Jonny, 34, a community nurse, said: “We currently have a little seven-year-old boy living with us who jokes every day that he’s going to stay with us until he’s an old man. 
“Fostering brings a lot of special moments and those moments just blow you away. 
“One that stands out was when I was teaching him how to brush his teeth properly and one night he turned round and said: ‘You’re like my dad,’ and that was so lovely. It melts your heart and it’s those moments that make fostering worth it. That’s why we care, so could you, come and foster with Northumberland.” 
Dean, 34, an assistant grounds manager, said: “We just felt we had so much more to give and we knew how many children were out there needing a loving home, so we decided to find out more.  
“He’s changed our lives, we’re out and about more – going places and doing new things.  
“We both work full time, so we applied to care for a child who was of school age. But it’s not about someone coming into your home and fitting in with your life – we’ve all lived different lives so we have to blend into a new one and build a family together.” 
Diane, from Tynedale

foster carer Diane, initially provided respite and short term care before she moved into offering long term foster care for two siblings, alongside her own son. 
She said: “If you're thinking about fostering, you can change somebody's life for the better. It's a challenging job, and it's surprising how you can grow as a person, because you're making a massive difference to somebody's life.  
“We've seen these children grow, we've seen them change so much in the short time that we've had them. They're happier, comfortable and safe, and we're like a real family now. We really are. They have their own birth family, which is really important, but they call us their own family now." 
To find out more call Caroline Matthews on 01670 62 62 62 or email or read more at  
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