1. ITV Report

Urgent call for more foster carers in South Cumbria

A campaign has been set up in Kendal and the South Lakes Photo: PA

South Cumbria is in urgent need for more foster carers to provide homes for children who can no longer live with their birth families.

A campaign has been set up in Kendal and the South Lakes to find more foster carers, and highlight the different kinds of fostering available.

This can be from short-term or Shared Care fostering, to offering a permanent home to a child.

Cumbria County Council's campaign aims to show the difference foster carers can make to the lives of local children.

The scheme is backed by county council foster carer Andrew Galvin.

Andrew Galvin and his wife Maria are Shared Care Cumbria County Council foster carers from Kendal.

They provide care one weekend a month for a teenager who is autistic and has learning difficulties.

Andrew said:

When we first enquired about fostering the council talked us through the options and, as we both work full-time, Shared Care fostering seemed to work best for us.

We have been offering Shared Care for the same child for six years now, since he was 10, and watching him grow up and progress is really, really rewarding – we have grown to love him like a member of our own family.

It is personally so rewarding for us and knowing it benefits his parents too is also really gratifying.

They get a weekend to themselves that otherwise they wouldn’t get and they have the opportunity to spend time with their other child, who is not autistic.

You don’t have to be an expert in caring for children with a disability to be a Shared Care fosterer, as the council offer very good training and support. Really you just need to be caring, empathetic and keen to share a bit of your life with a young person.”

– Andrew Galvin, Foster Carer, Cumbria County Council

Foster carers are fully supported through training, assessment and approval stages.

Once approved, carers receive on-going support and training from social work professionals and other foster carers.

The Cabinet Member for Children’s Services said:

We’re looking for people who have the room in their home and the drive to make a difference for children.

People can be quick to rule themselves out of fostering, we understand there are a lot of myths around, but if you have a spare room there’s potentially a scheme for you.

Experience of working with children or young people can be beneficial but not always necessary, as full training and support will be provided.

The best way to find out more is to come to one of our events and meet our foster carers."

– Cllr Anne Burns, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services