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  1. Published on: 10/09/2019 06:45 AMReported by: roving-eye
    Lancashire County Council's latest campaign to recruit carers to foster a local child and change their life includes a series of inspiring short videos featuring foster carer, Graham Lindley.

    The five short videos, each less than one minute long, have been produced to encourage more people to come forward and enquire about becoming a foster carer.

    One video will be released each week and themes include Graham discussing the benefits of fostering, as well as sharing his own story of becoming a foster carer with the county council. Graham, along with his wife Diane, have been foster carers for six years.

    The campaign, running from today, Monday 9 September to Sunday 6 October, will also be promoted on billboards and on social media channels Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

    With around 20 Lancashire children coming into care each week and needing urgent foster care placements, the county council is keen to attract local people and families to step forward and find out how they can make a real difference to a child's life.

    Foster carers could be asked to care for children and young people across a wide age range, from birth to 18-years-old, and are encouraged to consider as many ranges of children’s needs and age groups as possible. New foster carers may feel more comfortable in caring for a specific age group when initially approved, whilst building up their confidence and experience with the support and guidance of the fostering team.

    Respite carers, needed to look after children and young people for short periods of time, like weekends and during school holidays, are also now encouraged to come forward. This could be for looked after children where they need a short break, or for children with disabilities.

    County Councillor Phillippa Williamson, cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said: "These newly produced short videos really demonstrates the importance of becoming a foster carer. They are really inspirational because they share the individual story of someone who is one of our foster carers, and therefore talks with experience.

    "In Lancashire, we need more people to provide the support and stable homes that these children and young people need to really thrive.

    "There is a rising demand for placements with more children and young people coming into the care of the local authority each week.

    "We know that fostering doesn't just improve the lives of the children and young people who are fostered, it also has the potential to enrich the lives of foster carers, their families and others who are involved as well.

    "We need carers to come forward to look after children of all different ages and circumstances."

    New foster carers can expect to receive between £241 and £300 per week for each child they care for.

    People who have considered fostering before, but weren't sure they could afford it, are advised to find out if it could now be a viable option.

    No formal experience or qualifications are needed to be a foster carer, all you need is a spare room available, or plan to have one soon, and a desire to make a difference to a local child's life.

    A package of support is available 24/7 to help foster carers in their role, including local support groups, their own social worker, a dedicated helpline and flexible training.

    Recruitment priorities for Lancashire include places for:

    - Brothers and sisters – including sibling groups of three or more children/young people.

    - Older children/young people – over half of all looked-after children are 10 or older.

    - Children from black and ethnic minority backgrounds, in particular black or Asian children and increasingly those from new migrant communities.

    - Long term – where children and young people are not able to live with their own families for a number of years, if at all. Children and young people stay in a family where they feel secure, while maintaining contact with their birth family.

    - Children with complex/additional needs including challenging behaviour.

    - Parents and children together - this involves having a child or children with one or more of the parents in your home and supporting them to care for their children. This type of fostering is challenging but rewarding and the enhanced allowances offered to foster carers reflect this.

    For more information about becoming a foster carer, or to find out more about the campaign, call the fostering recruitment team on 0300 123 6723 or visit www.lancashire.gov.uk/fostering

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