A DESPERATE call has gone out for urgently-needed foster families to take care of needy youngsters.
Foster carers are in short supply in Hartlepool and east Durham and a charity has issued a plea for more people to think about providing support to the children who need it.
According to new figures published by the Fostering Network more than 400 extra foster carers need to be found across the North-East in the next 12 months.
The figures, showing at least 8,750 foster families will be needed next year, show the scale of the challenge for fostering services in the region as they struggle to provide the right foster homes.
Since 2008 the number of children living with foster families in England has risen by 16 per cent, and is continuing to rise.
Around 59,000 children live with 45,000 UK foster families on any one day, with thousands more coming into care throughout the year.
There is also an ageing foster carer population and around 14 per cent of the workforce retire or leave every year.
Helen Clarke, recruitment and retention expert at the Fostering Network, said: “All children in care need a family they can grow up with who can love them, be ambitious for them and help them achieve their potential. For a growing number, foster care is the best option.
“By becoming a foster carer people can help the children they welcome into their homes to have the best possible opportunity of a positive future, to do well at school and be successful in later life.”
To find out more about becoming a foster carer in Hartlepool, call (01429) 275144 and in east Durham, call (0191) 3706149.