Call for more foster carers in Lancashire

Lancashire County Council have launched a new campaign calling for more foster carers, and particularly need foster parents for older children and teenagers.

Depending on the age and requirements of the child, all new foster carers can expect to receive between £250 and £428 per week per child they care for.

Prospective foster carers must be over the age of 21 and have a spare room for the child, but these are the only requirements.

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"We had the love to give" - what it takes to be a foster carer in Lancashire
Lancashire foster carer Mandy Plackett

Contrary to what some may assume, people can foster regardless of their employment status, disability, race, gender, sexuality, relationship status, or faith, and you don’t have to own a property.

An online information session is being held on Wednesday, 11th August between 6pm and 8pm, where staff from the Fostering Recruitment Team and current foster parents will give information and host a Q&A session.

All foster carers receive specialist training, are assigned a mentor for 12 months, are invited to support groups, and can ask for help twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

County Councillor Cosima Towneley said: “When people think of fostering, there is a tendency to opt for a younger child or siblings.

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“This could be due to a propensity to believe the teenage years to be more challenging. This is somewhat of a stereotype and forgets how rewarding and important supporting children through these transformational years can be.

“It is a different experience in that older children are testing the boundaries of adulthood, an experience that we can all relate to as being at once exhilarating and frightening.

"This only reinforces the need for them to have stability, consistency, love, and support. They need a caring home that will provide security and support to give them the chance of a brighter future.”

Lancashire has a particular need for carers for this age bracket, as almost 60% of children in care in Lancashire are over the age of ten.

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Mandy Plackett, a foster carer who has been helping Lancashire County Council for one year, has had both an older child and a teenager. She said: “Fostering teenagers is the same thing as a family with a teenager. Sure, there are some bumps along the way, but I get great support from my social workers.

“Fostering is the best decision that I have ever made for our family, and it’s really changed my life for the better.

“You don’t have to be an expert to be a great foster parent, just a caring and understanding person who can offer patience and support.”

As previously reported in the Lancashire Post, in April, 1,040 children and young people across Lancashire required foster care, and Barnado’s claimed that the number of children entering

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the English care system had increased by 57% since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.