East of England councils unite under new banner to recruit foster families

Health / Mon 3rd Jun 2024 at 07:49am

ESSEX County Council joins 10 other local authorities to collectively recruit more foster carers to look after some of the most vulnerable children in the East of England.

The new Foster East partnership is funded by the Department of Education as a collaborative approach to foster recruitment and support.

The eleven councils under Foster East will work together to provide more comprehensive training, support and best practice for foster carers.

Foster carer applicants will be nurtured through their fostering journey via local councils as well as a network of experienced buddies.

Foster East advisors, available on the phone every day from 8am to 8pm, help people learn how fostering can become part of their lives.

Those at independent fostering agencies are also invited to transfer to their local council via Foster East. Transfers will be able to benefit from local training and a linked support network.

Foster East comes as over 7,000 vulnerable children and young people find themselves in the care of local authorities in the East of England. This is in addition to 150 coming into care every month.

More than 770 children and young people in Essex alone, ranging from babies to 18-year-olds, require safe, loving and nurturing homes to thrive and develop.

Each local authority aims to keep those in their care as local as possible to their support networks. However, a shortage of foster families means this is not always achievable.

Helen Lincoln, Executive Director of Children, Families and Education at Essex County Council, said: “Each council has a slightly different way of working, but we all share the same aims: to improve the experience our foster carers have during the application process, to provide solid training and in-depth support to ensure they can care with confidence, and to increase the number of foster carers working with us across the region so we can keep our children rooted in their local communities.

“Coming into care is an extremely distressing time for any child. If we can provide more loving foster families in their local area, we can minimise the disruption to their lives and ensure they can still attend their school, see their friends and family and participate in their usual activities. All while having the support they need to thrive in a safe home environment.”

People considering fostering can speak with a Foster East advisor from 8am to 8pm any day. This includes the opportunity to speak with an experienced foster carer to find out more about what the role entails. More information can be found at www.fostereast.org.uk

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