Foster families in Staffordshire are sharing their Christmas experiences to help encourage more families to consider fostering.
There are currently around 400 fostering households in the county and with the number of children needing a loving home on the increase, more families are being urged to come forward.
As part of its Christmas and New Year campaign to highlight the urgent need for more families, local foster carers are sharing their stories. A drop in event at Costa Coffee on Queen’s Retail Park in Stafford on Friday 17 December from 10am-12noon will also give potential families the chance to learn more.
Staffordshire foster carers Maxine and husband Alan Francis have been fostering with Staffordshire County Council for two years now and are encouraging others to consider it.
Maxine said: “ Fostering is a brilliant thing to do; we both love it. It’s our second Christmas as a foster family and we are already wishing we had done it sooner.
“Christmas is a time for families and it can be a really difficult time for the children we look after but we make sure each child feels special and enjoys themselves. We’ve found fostering really rewarding; seeing the difference you can make to a child’s life is amazing.
“Since we joined Staffordshire, the training and support has been excellent. We’ve never felt on our own as there is always someone there if you need them.
“I’d encourage anyone who is thinking of fostering to pick up the phone or visit the website and take the next step and this time next year you could also be a Staffordshire foster carer too.”
This year, Staffordshire County Council’s fostering service hopes to recruit at least 60 new households.
Mark Sutton, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People at the authority added: “All children deserve a nice Christmas and it’s great that our foster carers are there to make this happen .
“Our foster families play a key role in transforming children’s lives. And, as Christmas is a time when families get together, we are asking people across Staffordshire to think about whether they could welcome a local child into their home or if they know someone who they think could foster.
“While we have a greater need for carers for sibling groups and teenagers, we are always keen to hear from anyone interested in becoming a foster carer. And remember, there’s no such thing as a typical foster carer, people simply need to have a spare bedroom, care about children, have great communication skills and be ready for a challenge.
“If this sounds like you, I’d urge you to get in touch with the team and take that first step.”
For more information on fostering with Staffordshire County Council, visit fosterforstaffordshire.co.uk or call 0800 169 2061