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Urgent appeal for more foster carers in Cornwall

Urgent appeal for more foster carers in Cornwall

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 7:33am 20th April 2019.

An urgent appeal has gone out for more foster carers across Cornwall.

It comes as the number of young people in care has increased to almost 500 across the Duchy. 

The campaign is being launched by Cornwall Council aims is to recruit an additional 40 foster families by the end of the year, which will be able to offer a loving and nurturing environment for young people.

Across Cornwall there is a diverse range of young people in care and this means foster carers need to come from a variety of backgrounds and have different life experiences.

The children range in age from newborn to teenagers, and some are sibling groups but like all children, they need to be part of a family where they are nurtured and feel safe.

"The best thing about being a foster carer is seeing children who have had a difficult start in life begin to flourish and having the opportunity to open a new world of possibilities for them to help build a picture of themselves as resilient and effective individuals.

"But you have to be realistic as well; foster caring is "extreme" parenting. Children in care have all suffered separation and loss and our most important job is to help them feel safe and secure. Traditional parenting methods of rewards and sanctions very often don't work and they require empathetic parenting to help them succeed."

Nicky, foster carer

Cornwall Council has foster carers who have been looking after children for over 20 years.

Some have had many children who have returned home or moved on to adoption or special guardianship.

Others have provided safe and loving care for the whole of the child's childhood. And some beyond 18 years - just like any family.

With Fostering Fortnight just over one month away, information events are being planned across Cornwall for anyone interested in having an informal chat.

The shortage of foster carers in Cornwall is not unique, The Fostering Network estimates that fostering services across the UK need to recruit a further 6,800 foster families in the next 12 months.

"There are many reasons why a young person may come into care, but we need to be prepared to support these often vulnerable young people when they need us most. Foster carers come from a variety of different backgrounds and you don't need any particular skills or experiences, but you do need to have a passion for helping young people.

"Foster carers receive training and support to help them develop the skills to meet the needs of children in their care."

Portfolio Holder and Cabinet Member for Health and Well Being, Sally Hawken

According to data from the Fostering Network there are currently 83,000 young people in care across the UK, with almost 55,000 foster families.

Fostering is a way of providing a safe and secure home for children who cannot live with their own parents. Often, this is on a temporary basis while the parents get help to sort out problems.

This young person, who cannot be identified, says that Fostering has had a major impact on her life:

"Being in foster care has changed my life in multiple ways, one is letting me go to school and another is letting me try new things.

"I have now danced for 5 years and I really enjoy it.

"I get treated like my carers own children.

"The wonderful net of people around me are amazing, I know that I can trust them and I know that they care about me."

Young person in foster care

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