Call for more foster carers in Norfolk

Children in care in Norfolk are calling on more foster carers to come forward to offer hope to some of the county's most vulnerable children.

It comes as the number of children in need of a new family on a short-, medium-, or long-term basis continues to rise.

Figures released earlier this month from Cafcass (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) revealed a national 10pc increase in the number of care order applications made in the last year.

Norfolk County Council is now renewing its bid to find more carers to meet that increasing demand.

There are more than 1,000 children and young people in care in Norfolk and 153 applications for care or supervision orders were made in 2011/12 affecting 224 children.

The majority of those in care need to be looked after by foster carers on a short-, medium- or long-term basis.

Looked-after children in the county say that good foster carers can make a significant difference to their lives.

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Ashlea, 15, a member of Norfolk's In Care Council, said: 'I came into care quite late and when I did I was really confused and had no goals or dreams – my life had been just coping day to day.

'My foster carer has made a huge difference; she has helped me think about my future and made sure I get all the support I need. Without her I know I would not be doing as well as I am and be thinking about and planning for my future.'

Christine Newman, who lives in south Norfolk, has been a carer for just over a year and looks after siblings aged four and eight. She described the experience as 'incredibly rewarding'.

The county council is particularly keen to recruit carers, like Mrs Newman and her husband, who can look after groups of siblings. There is also a shortage of carers for mothers with babies and homes for older teenagers.

Anyone interested in becoming a carer can visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/fostering or call 0344 800 8020.

victoria.leggett@archant.co.uk

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