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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

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Foster carers needed in Cumbria

A fostering agency has opened a new office in Cumbria in a bid to tackle a shortage of foster carers in the county.

Team Fostering, which unveiled the new facility in the YMCA Building in Shaddongate, Carlisle said it receives more referrals to match carers with youngsters from Cumbria than from any other area it covers in the north of England, but has no trained foster carers in the county.

Nationally, the Fostering Network estimates 8,600 more foster carers are needed to provide homes for children in need. In April 2013, there were 630 children in Cumbria who were in the looked after system, up from 595 in April 2012 and a rise of nearly 200 compared with April 2009.

Pauline Robinson, 55, who heads the new office in Carlisle, said: "We receive our highest number of requests from Cumbria County Council for foster homes for children from the local area and we have done for some time.

"We understand that carers need a local base in order to feel supported and with the growing demand from the local authority, we have made the decision to open an office in Carlisle.

"By the end of this year, we are aiming to have recruited six foster families in Cumbria. Children thrive on familiarity and our aim is to allow Cumbrian children to stay in Cumbria to give them a better start in life."

Currently, Cumbrian children referred to Team Fostering are being looked after mainly by carers in the North East.

Pauline said: "We don't discriminate. Same sex couples, single carers, couples of another ethnicity, we are looking for people who first and foremost like children, and also have a spare room and if they have children, those children will need to be over the age of 10.

"Carers have to be over 21 - we have no upper age limit - and be able to drive and have access to a car. There is no perfect model of a foster carer, we would welcome any enquiries from people interested in fostering."

Walter Young, Team Fostering director, said: "It is so important for young people that they are looked after in an area they call home, with all the security that brings them.

"There's a wide number of children, mostly aged between 10 and 15 and often with complex needs, who need family placements and we require a wide and diverse group of foster carers to support these children. We also need people who can consider offering a home to siblings, so that they don't need to be separated just because they come into the fostering services."

Team Fostering will hold an open event at 2pm on June 27 at their new Carlisle office for those who wish to know more about becoming a foster carer.

For more information call Team Fostering on 01228 907908 or visit www.teamfostering.co.uk.

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