'Enquiries double' to foster care service in Hartlepool
Enquires to become a foster carers have ‘doubled’ in Hartlepool as council chiefs continue to urge people to consider the role.
Hartlepool Borough Council Children’s Services Committee received and discussed the fostering service report for July to September 2019 at its latest meeting.
Jane Young, council assistant director of children’s & joint commissioning services, said it is pleasing to see increased interest from people in becoming foster carers.
However she stressed the most important thing was finding the right people to become foster carers, and making sure they are dedicated and up for the task.
She said: “We’ve had a significant recruitment campaign over the last 12 months which is starting now to yield its results.
“The fact that enquiries have doubled is really, really positive and we are hoping that starts having an impact in the new year.
“Fundamentally the most important thing for us is, we need to have enough foster carers but we also need to have the right foster carers, and we need to train them and support them well.
“The numbers will not cut it on its own, it has to be quality as well.”
She added there has been eight new foster care families approved in the first two quarters of the year, meaning the service target of approving a minimum of 10 new fostering places for 2019/20 is on track.
Praise was also given to the council for its advertising campaigns in attracting foster parents, including large banners displayed throughout the town.
Council officers said it is about having a ‘drip, drip’ approach to allow people to be thinking about fostering before making the move.
Ms Young said: “We’ve known for a long time, it’s a drip, drip, drip approach.
“You have to be in bus shelters or wherever on a regular basis because what you find is you drop in the idea and then people talk about it, and it’ll be something else that triggers them to pick up the phone or go to the website.
“What’s very important is our foster carers celebrating and telling people, Hartlepool is a town that really looks after its own, that really does stands out for me.”
Praise was also given by councillors for the quality of fostering care provided in Hartlepool and the new parents coming in.
Coun John Lauderdale said: “I know quite a few young people who are looked after, and the way they integrate into the general youth community impresses me.
“You would not imagine they had this sort of different background start, so it’s a tribute to the carers that they come out of the system as well as they do.”