A new survey has confirmed that would-be carers don’t have to be good cooks to be successful at fostering, and Alex Cunningham has lent his support to ongoing efforts to encourage more families to provide vital foster care.
The survey, conducted by The Fostering Network to mark the start of Foster Care Fortnight which runs from 16-29 May 2016, revealed the overwhelming call of children and young people in foster care was for foster carers who can provide them with security, support and love. The Stockton North MP hopes that recognition of this simple truth will help families realise what they could offer young people in foster care.
9,070 new foster families are needed across the UK in the next 12 months to care for a range of children, with the greatest need being for foster carers for older children, sibling groups, disabled children and unaccompanied asylum seeking children.
While important for some, only 14 per cent thought that being a good cook was a significant skill in a foster carer, compared to over two-thirds who identified the need to make them feel safe and secure, and 61 per cent who said providing support and helping them was key.
To help raise awareness of Foster Care Fortnight and to increase the profile of fostering, stars of The Only Way Is Essex also took part in a 20 minute bake-off to highlight that a child comes into care needing a foster family every 20 minutes in the UK.
“The Fostering Network’s survey may be light hearted but it highlights a serious message. Families around the country have so much to offer to young people in need of care and support, and I hope that Foster Care Fortnight will succeed in spreading this message and encouraging more families to get involved.
“Without more foster families, some children will find themselves living a long way from family, school and friends. Others risk being split up from brothers and sisters, disrupting childhoods that are already more traumatic than any child should have to experience.”
Debbie Douglas, of The Only Way is Essex fame, has been a foster carer for over 20 years and understands what the children in her care need. She said: “You don’t have to be a superhuman, you just need to be loving, understanding and resilient. Becoming a foster carer can be daunting but it’s something that many people would be capable of doing. I urge anyone who thinks they have the skills and personality to make a positive impact on these children’s lives to talk to their fostering service about becoming a foster carer.”