More foster carers are needed to give all children in Bolton the safe and caring home they deserve.
Bolton Council is calling on more people to register their interest in fostering some of the town’s looked after children.
There are currently more than 600 looked after children in Bolton, but just 240 fostering households registered with the local council.
Whenever a child is taken into care, the first priority is always to place them with extended family or close friends. When this is not possible, a child will stay with a foster carer.
But with such a shortage in households registered with the council, many young people are instead placed via more costly independent fostering agencies.
This puts pressure on the council’s budget and places a greater strain on valuable frontline services.
A foster carer can be anyone aged 21 and over, who can provide children with a stable environment. Carers can be single or in a couple and do not need to own their own home.
Foster carers are paid for their services and placements can vary from overnight stays to several years.
As well as this financial support, foster carers receive extensive training, a locally based supervising social worker, out of hours support and an experienced foster carer “buddy”.
Bolton Council’s Director of People Services, Bernie Brown, said:
“We are in desperate need of more foster carers to look after babies, children, young people and siblings.
“If you foster for Bolton Council you are part of the Bolton Family. By looking after local children you help them to stay in the area they know and near their friends and family.
“At the moment, the cost of using external agencies is putting a significant strain on the budget for children’s services.
“By registering directly with the council, not only can you make a massive difference at a crucial time in a child’s life, but you can also help us give every young person in Bolton the best possible start in life.”
It won’t just change a child’s life for the better, it will change yours.
Rosie was a teacher before she started fostering with Bolton Council 12 years ago.
“My supervising social worker and the family placement team are a huge pillar of support,” she said.
“If someone is considering fostering I’d say it won’t just change a child’s life for the better, it will change yours.”
Brandon and Diane have been fostering for seven years.
Diane said: “The most rewarding part of fostering is being a part of the children’s life, seeing them become more confident and watching them become part of our family.
“The first Christmas was memorable because of the children’s faces when they come downstairs to see all the presents under the Christmas tree.”
For more information on becoming a foster carer with Bolton Council, visit youcanfoster.org or call 0800 1071564.