Foster Care Fortnight (15-28 May) is being marked with a host of events across Bolton so that potential carers can take the first step to finding out more about fostering.
It is the UK’s biggest foster care awareness campaign and people are being encouraged to meet Bolton Council’s fostering team for a chat to find out whether fostering is right for them.
Thousands more foster families are needed across the UK every year and Bolton is no exception.
Being a foster carer was something that Kieran had thought about for a long time.
But as a single person who works full-time for a charity, he wasn’t sure it was possible.
Kieran said: “I knew I had something to offer a child and so when I saw an advert online, I enquired. The assessment process was very reflective and supportive as we discussed everything that had happened in my life.
“When I became approved in 2021, it was only a few weeks until I got my first placement. I was really surprised at how well I took to it. I’m just sad that it took me to the age of 42 to apply.”
The council's Director of Childrens Services, Bernie Brown, said: "We are extremely grateful to all our foster carers who do a fantastic job dedicating their time to improving the lives of the children and young people they care for.
"It is important to us to be able to find the right placements when children come into care and as foster carers retire or move on, we are always in need of more people coming forward to make an enquiry.
“We understand that taking that first step can feel like a big decision, but our staff are on hand to answer your questions.
“And remember that foster carers can be all kinds of people with all kinds of experiences, just like the children they care for.
“You could be the difference for one child - make the call and find out more.”
With record numbers of children in care and a significant proportion of the foster carer workforce retiring or leaving every year, many more foster families are needed to care for children, with the greatest need being for foster carers for teenagers and sibling groups.
Fostering offers children and young people a home when they are unable to live with their birth family.
Sometimes children only stay with a foster family for a few days, while others will live with their foster family for their entire childhood and beyond.
Many of these children have experienced abuse or neglect prior to coming into care. Good foster care can help to transform their lives and enable them to flourish.
Fostering offers children a safe and caring home and plays a big part in supporting them to maintain links with their birth family.
Visit https://www.bolton.gov.uk/fostering or email email@example.com or call 0800 107 1564 for more information.