Changing Futures Fostering launched in the middle of the first lockdown with the pandemic causing a national shortage in potential foster parents and a big increase in the number of children and young people needing places.
The agency, founded by Headland charity Changing Futures North East, wanted to change the way young people and foster parents in the North East experience care. It is the first independent fostering agency in Hartlepool.
Following its launch in September 2020, it says it has built up a team of wonderful foster parents who are now supporting many children in the North East.
Changing Futures Fostering is once again taking part in Foster Care Fortnight, which continues until May 22, to showcase the commitment, passion and dedication of foster carers while also highlighting the need for more parents.
This year’s theme is is Fostering Communities.
Sarah Richardson, fostering manager at Changing Futures Fostering, said: “Foster Care Fortnight is such an important event for raising awareness of the many aspects of fostering, from the impact on the lives of children and young people that foster carers make to raising awareness of the many positives of becoming a foster carer.
"This year’s theme of community feels incredibly well timed given the global pandemic and the need now more than ever to feel part of a well supported community, and that is something we have strived for and achieved in our agency.
"So, we are overjoyed not only to spread the word but be a part of this.”
Changing Futures Fostering, which us run on a not-for-profit basis, currently have eight registered foster carers and have so far helped over 11 children to be placed in safe homes.
By the end of the summer they are set to increase their numbers by another four parents.
Single foster parent Georgia said she enjoys every moment, adding: "Their training was based in therapeutic approaches, my skills and understanding has really advanced compared to a year ago.”
Following the pandemic, Graham Alton, director of Changing Futures Fostering, said: “There's never been a more important time to become a foster parent.”