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This Foster Care Fortnight you can find out more about fostering, all from the comfort of your own home.

Portsmouth City Council is holding their spring virtual event for people living in Portsmouth and the surrounding areas who wish to find out more about becoming a foster carer. The online event will be held over zoom on Tuesday, 18 May between 7-9pm.

Attendees will have the opportunity to talk to a social worker as well as existing foster carers, to hear first-hand about the rewards of fostering.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson, Leader of Portsmouth City Council, said:

“Building a community of carers around children and young people to ensure a continuity of care and stable home life is vital. Many of the children and young people we bring into care may not see their extended family. During the formative years of their lives as they grow up, attend school and build friendships, this type of support is invaluable and can make a real difference. If you’ve ever considered a different kind of career with children or young people, now could be the perfect time to apply.

“We have many children and young people in need of a loving home at the moment, and we are keen to recruit more foster carers, with a particular need for long term foster carers, as well as those able to accommodate sibling groups, unaccompanied asylum seeking minors and teenagers. So if you’ve ever been interested in making a difference in a child’s life please register for our virtual event to find out more.”

Portsmouth foster carers Patsy and Tony Allen started fostering in their early 20s. They are now 25 and 26 and have fostered two children and provided short stays (respite care) for three.

Patsy commented:

“When we first applied to become foster carers, being younger and having less experience than some of our peers was discussed. However, that didn’t stop us.

“Fostering had always been in the back of our minds. Tony grew up in care for a lot of his life and we both know his carers and the difference they made to his life, so we always thought it was something we might consider, too. We have a really great support network of family and friends, both our own and through the Mockingbird Family Model, and you’ve always got someone to lean on if you’ve had a challenging day.”

Patsy continued,

“Now, as foster carers ourselves, we see the impact we’re having on these children’s lives. It’s always magical to see children grow up, but for these particular children – knowing what they might have gone through and the adversities they’ve overcome – it is our privilege to play some small part in making a difference to their lives.”

The event falls during Foster Care Fortnight (10 – 23 May). This annual national campaign was founded in 1997 by the UK’s leading fostering charity, The Fostering Network, to raise awareness of the transformational power of fostering, celebrate the fostering community, to support fostering services – including Foster Portsmouth – and showcases the commitment, passion and dedication of foster carers.

The council welcomes all applications and, while a spare bedroom is crucial, it doesn’t matter whether you rent or own your own home. Our foster carers come from all walks of life and, regardless of their marital and working status, age, gender, ethnicity, faith or sexuality, they all share the same commitment and motivation to make a positive difference to a child’s life.

To register for the virtual event, please visit www.foster.portsmouth.gov.uk/events

For more information on fostering in general, please contact the fostering recruitment team on 023 9283 4071, visit www.foster.portsmouth.gov.uk or email fostering@portsmouthcc.gov.uk