Foster Care Fortnight takes place from 11 to 24 May 2020 and is a national campaign that aims to raise awareness of the need for more foster carers to come forward across the UK.
By 2022 it is estimated that there will be 77,000 children in care in England, an increase of 20% since 2010.
In Sunderland there are currently almost 600 children in care with many in the care of foster carers.
Together for Children, which works on behalf of Sunderland City Council to deliver children’s services, supports around 200 foster carers and is currently looking to recruit around twenty new foster carers within the next 12 months, particularly for older children and sibling groups.
Landmarks across Sunderland including Penshaw Monument, Northern Spire, Keel Square, High Street West, Fulwell Mill and the Cliffe Park Lighthouse will be lit up in Together for Children’s magenta and blue colours on 11 May and 24 May to mark the start and end of the fortnight.
Together for Children offer a financial support package that provides weekly payments to foster carers, that means foster carers can earn up to £34,320 plus allowances per year and it’s a flexible, home-based care role.
Weekly payments are designed to cover the basic needs of a child or children in foster care and take into account transport, clothing, food, personal and household items.
In addition, an online Fostering Portal provides carers with access to training and further reading and research and this backed up with expert social worker support.
Kathryn McCabe, Strategic Service Manager at Together for Children, said: “Our foster carers come from all walks of life; married, cohabiting, single and same sex couples and they provide a real sense of family and belonging to vulnerable children and young people.”
“In response to Covid-19 we are placing children and young people with respite foster carers and we are holding fostering information sessions via video conferencing where those interested in becoming foster carers can ask any questions they may have.”
There are few restrictions to becoming a foster carer, although carers must undergo a thorough assessment.
Together for Children’s independent fostering agency has a good Ofsted rating and the highly professional team offer continual training and support as well as an exciting social programme of events that allow carers and children in care to meet up and share their experiences.
Mick Wilkes, General Manager, at The National Trust, which maintains Penshaw Monument, said: “We are pleased to support this campaign, both to bring recognition to foster care and to help recruit new carers.”
To find out more or to register an expression of interest in fostering please visit https://www.togetherforchildren.org.uk/fostercare or call 0191 561 2223.