Bristol family on what it's really like to foster amid 'chronic shortage' of families

  • The Hall family speak about their fostering journey

A family from Bristol have spoken about how rewarding it is to open up your home as a foster family in the hope others will do the same.

The Hall family started fostering 18 months ago and say it has made their home "complete".

They currently foster a teenager, who their daughter Lilly says has become like a sibling to her.

There is a chronic shortage of foster families in the city, according to Bristol City Council.

The authority is now appealing for more people to come forward to offer loving homes for children who need them.

The council has around 600 children in its care and at any one time and is currently looking for homes for about 30 of them.

It says people from all backgrounds will be considered and will be given training and support throughout the process.

Kelly and Simon Halls with their daughter Lilly, who now has a sibling thanks to the fostering scheme Credit: ITV

Foster dad Simon Halls told ITV News West Country: "We foster because we want to give something back.

"We had space in our home, in our family, and wanted to give somebody that experience that we have given our birth children who hasn't had that.

"There is nothing like seeing the smile on a child's face in the morning when they come down for breakfast, or in the evening when you are having tea, going to the cinema, doing family stuff, things they wouldn't have done previously.

"It's very rewarding."

Foster mum Kelly Halls said she had always wanted another child but was unable to have a second.

"Lilly was going 'oh I really want a sibling' and the perfect solution was to foster a child and give someone a home and be part of the family."

The Halls are one of 45,000 fostering households in England - a number which is not enough to keep up with the growing number of children who need homes.

Sarah Parker, from Bristol City Council, said: "There are around 80,000 children currently in care in England - Simon and Kelly are urging others to think about doing what they do and potentially changing  a child's life."