Explained: Why more foster families are needed in Kent

According to Kent Fostering, in 2017 there were over 53,000 children living with foster families in England.

Foster Care Fortnight is an annual campaign set up by The Fostering Network to raise awareness of the importance of fostering.

In Kent there are not enough foster careers to look after the children in foster care.

Vulnerable children are coming to Kent from other areas.

What is Foster Care Fortnight?

The leading fostering charity, The Fostering Network, are a vital service which bring together people involved in the lives of fostered children.

Foster Care Fortnight is a two week campaign that takes place from 14 to 27 May.

There’s a number of ways you can get involved including making a donation, spreading the word through social media or considering becoming a foster parent yourself.

The Fostering Network are urging for people to come forward who might think they have the right skills and experience needed to be a foster carer.

How many children are living with foster families in Kent?

The Fostering Network reported that over 7,000 more foster families are needed this year to ensure all children find the right fostering home.

Kent Fostering are an organisation that have looked after vulnerable children in Kent for the last 40 years.

The company believe more foster families are needed so more children can find homes.

Kent Fostering. Picture: KKC Media Hub

Kent Fostering said: “Kent is no different to the rest of the UK in that there are not enough foster carers to look after our children in foster care.

“There are over 1000 children living with 700 Kent carers and foster families and Kent Fostering are recruiting 150 carers over the next year.

“We need carers for teenagers, siblings, short breaks care for disabled children and foster homes for disabled children- training can be provided for all types of care provided.

“Kent Fostering need carers with a spare bedroom, a big heart and plenty of energy, patience and fun in their lives.”

Do we need more foster families in Kent?

Inspired Foster Care (ISP) is an independent fostering agency that provide high quality education and care for young people.

Keith Beasley manager and social worker at the ISP Whitstable branch thinks more foster families are needed everywhere in England and not just in Kent.

He said: “There is a shortfall nationally of around 7000 foster families for children that are either in the care system or likely to come into it.

“So the Fostering Fortnight campaign is to one raise the profile of fostering with the commitment and passion of existing foster carers and to also use the fostering fortnight as part of a recruitment campaign.”

Listen below to hear Keith’s full thoughts:

How are Kent fostering charities coping as more vulnerable children come to Kent?

Heathfarm Fostering is an independent therapeutic fostering agency based in Whitstable.

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The agency work to equip families so they have a rewarding fostering experience.

The organisation believe vulnerable children have been coming to Kent for years so this problem is something they are prepared for.

Caroline Newman manager at Heathfarm Fostering hasn’t seen a change in their services.

She said: “Children deserve to live their lives in safe and nurturing environments.

“Other than fostering the only option is residential care, which is not always appropriate- especially for young children.

“Vulnerable children have been placed in Kent for more than 10 years and we do not feel there is a strain on our service as we are able to provide education and therapy.”

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