Reggie Bear, Staffordshire County Council’s Fostering Service mascot, has a Christmas message this year; “We need your help to find more foster carers”.
Reggie’s call is part of the Council’s latest campaign to highlight the urgent need for more foster carers for Staffordshire children. The campaign wants people to pick up a picture of Reggie from their local library or download it from www.care4child.org and take a festive photo with him in it. People then need to post it on Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #ReggieFosterBear and tag a friend who they think would make a great foster carer. Everyone who takes part will be entered into a prize draw to win a £100 Love to Shop Voucher.
Mark Sutton, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People at Staffordshire County Council explained that this was a fun campaign in the run up to Christmas that would hopefully get more people thinking about fostering.
Mark said: “Foster carers play a key role in transforming children’s lives. And, as Christmas is a time when families get together, we are asking people across Staffordshire to think about whether they could welcome a local child into their home or if they know someone who they think could foster.
“While we have a current need for carers for sibling groups and teenagers, we are always keen to hear from anyone interested in becoming a foster carer. And, remember, there’s no such thing as a typical foster carer, people simply need to care about children, have great communication skills and be ready for a challenge. So, please tag and share your festive photo of Reggie with all your friends on their Facebook and Twitter accounts. The more the merrier, we want to reach the foster carers of the future whoever and wherever they are.”
There are currently around 400 fostering households in Staffordshire and with the number of children needing a loving home on the increase, more families are being urged to come forward.
Staffordshire foster carer Kelly Hyden who is supporting the Christmas campaign said: “I’ve been fostering for around 15 years now and it’s an absolutely wonderful thing to do. Over that time I have specialised in looking after teenagers and have probably fostered over 60 children. It isn’t always easy though and has it’s challenges but there is plenty of help and support available.
“I’d definitely encourage people to think about becoming a foster carer and I would recommend people go along to one of the fostering information evenings, you get to meet other foster carers and hear exactly what’s involved. You’ll also get the chance to talk to staff about all the great training that is available too.”
People interested in becoming a foster carer can find out more at www.care4child.org or by calling 0800 1692061. Information evenings, with a chance to meet foster carers and talk with staff, are also being held in the run up to Christmas in Newcastle on 21 November and in Stafford on 6 December for anyone who wants to find out more.
The Competition closes at midnight on 31 December 2017 with the winner being announced in early January.