Right now in Carlisle and Eden there is an urgent need for more foster carers to provide supportive, safe and happy homes for children who for whatever reason can't live with their birth families.
A campaign launches today in Carlisle and Eden to find more new foster carers, the campaign backed by county council foster carer Rosemary Glassbrook sets out to invite local people to join Cumbria's biggest family and do something incredible for children in need in their area.
Rosemary Glassbrook, a county council foster carer for over 15 years, said:
"Fostering was always something I wanted to do, after my own children left home me and my husband decided to go for it. For most of my life I've worked with children or had children in the house, I've raised my own children and looked after children as a child minder and nanny so I felt I had something to offer.
"In our 15 years fostering we've looked after children from babies up to teenagers, to see the difference fostering makes even in just a short while is truly rewarding.
"Fostering is more than a job, it's something you must be committed to and do it from the heart."
In Carlisle and Eden there is a need for more foster families to provide homes for:
Key elements of this latest campaign include a local radio commercial; a mail-drop to 40,000 households in the area; taking over Carlisle's Civic Centre digital banner; information events plus a mass of online and social media activity including a revamped website.
Foster carers come from all walks of life just like the children who need to be looked after, people who are interested can be assured they will be fully supported through the training, assessment and approval stages. Once approved foster carers then receive on-going support and training from social work professionals and other foster carers. The county council already supports close to 70 foster families in Carlisle and Eden, the longest serving foster carer has been fostering for 33 years and the newest was approved in July.
Despite the call for more foster families, all children who need a foster family have one. However, without more foster families coming forward during 2017 some children may find themselves living a long way from family, school and friends or being split up from brothers and sisters. There is then a significant risk that a child's placement will breakdown, further disrupting an already traumatic childhood.
Cllr Anne Burns, Cabinet Member for Children's Services, said:
"People often rule themselves out of fostering because there are many myths about who can foster. We're asking people to ignore the myths and to find out more about fostering for themselves. Whether you're old or young, married or single, male or female, gay or straight, renting or a homeowner - you can foster.
"There are a range of different fostering schemes and whatever your situation, there will be a scheme to match the help you can offer.
"If you cannot foster yourself, it's likely you'll know someone who would be a great foster carer and who could make a real difference to a child's life.
"Please look out for our messages on Facebook and Twitter and the events we'll be holding locally, and tell your friends and family."
If you think you have what it takes, then why not become part of Cumbria's biggest family? Visit cumbria.gov.uk/fostering, call 0303 333 1216 or come to an information event and meet our team and existing foster carers.
Information Events are taking place in Carlisle and Penrith: