We are now half way through The Fostering Network’s annual campaign ‘Foster care Fortnight’.
The leading charity has run the campaign for nearly twenty years; its main intention to highlight the passion and dedication of foster carers up and down the country. The interest and support the fostering campaign attracts annually is beyond doubt; it receives well over 1,000 pieces of media coverage each year to promote its work.
This year the campaign is more important than ever as there is a developing crisis: 9,070 new foster families will be needed in the next 12 months. Now what makes this particularly challenging is the range of children and young people needing homes. They are in the hard to place groups: older children, disabled children, sibling groups and unaccompanied asylum seeking children.
Considering each year there will be experienced foster carers retiring, the scale of the problem can be seen to be worrying. It is as well that this year’s theme, ‘Time to Foster, Time to Care’ is so apposite – prospective foster carers need to be aware that now is the time to come forward to care, and now is the time to become a foster carer. Clearly, this campaign theme is timely. To drive home the message, the shocking statistic that every 20 minutes across the UK a child comes into care in need of a foster family is being used at every opportunity.
— Fostering Network (@fosteringnet) May 28, 2016
There is a nice participative element to the campaign using the 20 minute statistic. People are invited to download a special placard, which allows them to record their favourite 20 minutes from last year; then email back with a photo of themselves. There is the option to tweet it to the charity with the hashtag #FCF2016 and tagging in @fosteringnet. There is also the opportunity to help the charity with its fundraising by choosing a zany activity to be sponsored to do. Some of their suggestions include a baked bean bath, space hopper bounce, hoping and a silence…but people can choose their own ideas.
Currently, over 64,000 children are being fostered by over 55,000 foster families. There are record numbers of children already in care and 12% of the foster carers retiring or leaving annually. In the UK as a whole, 9,070 additional foster families are needed. The UK breakdown: 7,600 in England, 170 in Northern Ireland, 500 in Wales and 800 in Scotland. The regional breakdown is as follows: 1,300 in the North West, 475 in the North East, 775 in Yorkshire and the Humber, 1,000 in the West Midlands, 650 in the East Midlands, 650 in the East of England, 1,150 in London, 600 in the South West and 1,100 in the South East.
— Fostering Network (@fosteringnet) May 30, 2016
What is so encouraging is that the campaign has attracted the support of all manner of celebrities;
these include: Ashley John-Baptiste (Journalist), Gareth Gates (songwriter), Jacqueline Wilson (children’s author), Michael Sheen (Hollywood actor), Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London), and Lorraine Pascale (celebrity baker) and Gaby Logan (TV sports presenter).
To support the campaign, at Rainbow Fostering we are throwing our doors open next week and inviting anyone interested in finding out more about fostering to come in for cake and coffee between 10am and 1pm. The team will be on hand to answer any questions and give an idea of the unique support we provide any new foster carer who joins our Rainbow community. We know that existing foster carers are the best advert for fostering for someone considering becoming a carer: we are more than happy to arrange a chat with some of our carers for anyone wanting to take their interest further.