Bolton Council is joining with other local authorities across the region to recruit more foster carers.
Twenty-three local authorities from across the North West have joined forces to create the largest ever regional fostering campaign, called You Can Foster.
The campaign, aimed at dispelling many of the widely-held myths about foster caring, will showcase the sheer diversity of potential foster carers throughout the region and how they can make a real difference to a child’s life.
You Can Foster will be launched with a region-wide multimedia campaign featuring TV, radio, print and social media. Experienced foster carers star in the campaign to reach out to potential new carers.
The regional campaign is running alongside Bolton Council’s own local fostering marketing campaign, which in the last four years has been successful in recruiting a range of foster carers.
Working together with the other North West authorities will enable the council to reach an even wider audience and further strengthen the recruitment drive at a local level.
All Bolton residents who make an enquiry online or by phone will receive a Fostering for Bolton information pack specific to the town, and will be contacted by the council’s fostering team.
Shahida, a foster parent from Bolton, said: “I do short term fostering for all ages and I have looked after a variety of children from different cultures and ethnicity.
“Fostering involves providing a nurturing and caring environment for a child. The child may be in a difficult situation, or have experienced something that makes them vulnerable and it is my duty to look after them and make them feel better in a homely environment. It requires a lot of patience and understanding.
“The best thing about fostering being able to help children who come into care to overcome issues and problems. To see them progress and move on is so rewarding.”
In the North West alone there is a shortfall of between 1700 and 2000 foster carers which has led to a greater need than ever for new carers. The shortfall across England meanwhile is in excess of 8200.
In the last 30 years there have been significant changes in foster caring and the challenge for local authorities is to reflect these changes and attract a wider variety of carer than ever before.
The 23 local authorities collaborating on the campaign hope to approve a minimum of 150 new carers by the end of the campaign.
This project is being supported by the North West Improvement and Efficiency Partnership.