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Foster4 launches to urgently recruit foster carers in Cheshire and Merseyside.

Foster4, a collaborative fostering recruitment hub in the North West, launches today in a bid to urgently recruit foster carers in Cheshire and Merseyside.

fostering

Article date: 25 May 2024

 

Foster4 is a collaboration between eight Local Authorities in Cheshire and Merseyside: Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, St Helens, Warrington and Wirral.

With over 4600 children currently in care across the eight Local Authorities but just over 1150 approved local authority foster carers available, there is an urgent need to recruit new foster carers for the most vulnerable children in our region.

As set out in the Children's Social Care Implementation Strategy, Stable Homes, Built on Love, the government is investing a total of £36 million to help boost foster carer numbers across the country. Foster4 is backed by the Department for Education and will be the first point of contact for prospective foster carers offering a friendly welcome and ensuring all of their questions about fostering are answered. The recruitment hub will then work with the enquiries and their local authority and will continue to provide support throughout the application process.

Foster4 aims to recruit foster carers from a range of different backgrounds and circumstances in the region and will benefit from a new buddy mentoring scheme, linking prospective foster carers to experienced foster carers in their local area for further guidance and support through their assessment journey.

Foster4 is also signed up to the Fostering Network's Mockingbird programme which will see all eight Local Authorities benefit from the highly successful model that supports and retains foster carers effectively. The foster care model sees a constellation of fostering households set up in a similar arrangement to that of an extended family, structured around the support and relationships that provides and is set to nurture relationships between cared for children, young people and fostering families by bringing together six to ten fostering families who act as an extended family for activities such as Sunday lunches, film nights, sleepovers and days out, and also support each other like any other extended family.

Each constellation features an experienced Hub Carer at its core, providing crucial support for maintaining placements and ensuring stability and consistency for the children and young people in their care.

 

Commenting on the launch, Amanda Perraton, Director of Children's Services at Warrington Borough Council and Chair of Foster4 Board said: "There has been a decline in the number of foster carers across the country for a number of years now and we recognised that something needs to be done to encourage more people to foster. Becoming a foster carer is one of the biggest and most rewarding decisions someone can make, and many people don't realise they can foster and, as a result, don't make the initial enquiry. We want to dispel myths around who is eligible to foster, to ensure we recruit a diverse range of foster carers for children and young people in Cheshire and Merseyside.

For the first time, anyone considering fostering in Cheshire and Merseyside will benefit from a combined recruitment support hub, with help available every step of the way. Foster4 will provide necessary support to prospective foster carers when they need it most. We hope that by all working together with this new drive we can ensure children and young people in our region can experience a safe and loving home when they need it most."

For more information about fostering in the Cheshire and Merseyside area please visit www.foster4.co.uk or call 03456460098.