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Those looking for a new challenge and a way to make a difference in 2018 are invited to find out more about becoming a foster carer or adoptive parent at Portsmouth City Council's drop in event at the Holiday Inn Express in Farlington, on Saturday 27 January, 10am - 1pm.

The council's fostering and adoption services will be on hand to chat to anyone who thinks they could provide a better future for a child or young person in care. There is no need to book, just drop by for a chat with the fostering and adoption teams, families who have adopted and those currently fostering young people. 

The council urgently need to recruit more foster carers to provide a caring home, guidance and direction to children of all ages, and especially teenagers, to be just the role model, mentor and inspiration they need. There are numerous fostering opportunities available, from a stay at home full-time foster carer for a young child, to providing respite care or fostering a young person whilst continuing to work full or part-time. 

A favoured option by many who prefer to combine fostering whilst continuing to work, is to simply provide a room and around 10 hours a week of out of office hours support to one of Portsmouth's vulnerable 16-24 year olds, through the "Lodgings Plus" scheme.  Support could include things like teaching them to cook, writing a CV or applying for jobs, college or university.

Foster carers come from all walks of life, and receive around £165-£550 a week per child in their care, some of which goes towards food, clothes, toys and savings etc for the child. All carers are given excellent support, training, competitive allowances and fees for each fostering option. Lodgings Plus providers, when providing daily meals, receive over £750 per month per young person in their care.

For anyone considering adopting a child, the Portsmouth Adoption Service, along with families who have already adopted children, will also be at the event to share their experiences and answer your questions. The council urgently needs adopters for children of all ages, especially those aged 3+ and sibling groups.

If you have a spare room, you can foster or adopt regardless of your ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, marital status, whether single or part of a couple, or whether you own or rent your own home.

Cllr Ryan Brent, Portsmouth City Council's Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: "The new year can be a time for new beginnings and personal reflection, and we need to recruit more foster carers and adoptive families to provide stability and care for some of the city's most vulnerable children and young people, who need a range of periods of care from short to longer term placements, or a permanent, stable family environment where they can grow, develop and achieve their goals.  I would urge anyone to consider fostering or adoption and come along to the event, especially anyone with any childcare experience, or experience of working with young people or people with disabilities, whether professional, personal or voluntary."

For more information on fostering in general, please contact the Fostering Recruitment Team on 023 9283 4071 and chat to one of the team, visit www.foster.portsmouth.gov.uk or email fostering@portsmouthcc.gov.uk. For more information on adoption in general, please contact the Portsmouth Adoption Service on 023 9287 5294, visit www.adoption.portsmouth.gov.uk, or email adoptioncentre@portsmouthcc.gov.uk.