Could you help a child by being a foster carer?

As the number of children in care across Notts reaches an all-time high, the county council is recruiting more foster carers and more adoptive parents.

The authority needs 50 more foster carers, with 25 of these for children over 10 who are often harder to place and adoptive families for 51 children currently in foster care.

Cabinet member for children and young people’s services Coun Philip Owen said: “Across the county, we have 776 children in care - nearly double the number four years ago.”

“We urgently need more people to get in touch who feel that they could offer a stable and loving home to children.”

Julie Harrison is a single full-time foster carer from Worksop. She first applied to become a carer in 2005.

“I had chosen not to have a family of my own to have a career, and have never been in the position to have my own family,” said Julie.

“It seemed to make sense to help young people who needed somewhere to live. I had the spare rooms at home, the spare time and a love of teaching people new skills.”

Because she wanted to continue working full-time at that point, she opted for support care.

“Support care is providing weekend support for children and their carers who are already in the system,” she said.

“It gives them a well deserved break. It’s like being an aunty or uncle as part of an extended family.”

But then two years ago Julie decided that she wanted to become a full time foster carer.

“I decided to give up full time work and look after youngsters full time,” she said.

“I was getting more job satisfaction from helping youngsters than being stuck in office. It wasn’t an easy decision for me to make, but I don’t regret it at all.”

Julie urged people who are considering becoming foster carers not to be put off by the application process, which can seem daunting at first.

“At the end all they are doing is making sure the young people in their care are safe and placed with the right people of families,” she added.

The county council offers foster carers and adoptive families a range of support, allowances and training.

To find out more, call the council’s recruitment teams on 0845 301 8899 (for fostering) or 0845 3012288 (for adoption) or visit www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/adoptionandfostering