The adoption and fostering services at Portsmouth City Council are offering a free entry drop-in event at the Solent Hotel & Spa in Fareham, on Saturday 14 July, 10am to 1pm, for anyone considering adopting a child or becoming a foster carer. Attendees will be able to chat with current adoptive parents, foster carers and social workers.

Adopting a child is one of the most amazing things anyone can do, providing a loving family for some of the most vulnerable children in the city, and the family unit that many aspire to. The council recruits adoptive families within 50 miles of Portsmouth, including areas around Chichester, Crawley, Fareham, Gosport, Havant, Isle of Wight, Petersfield, Romsey, Southampton, Waterlooville, Winchester and further afield. 

New adoptive families are needed for children of all ages, especially those aged 2 and above and sibling groups, with full support available during and beyond the adoption process.

Foster carers are recruited from in and around Portsmouth, with 50% of current carers residing outside of the city. Fostering makes a real difference in a young person's life, with carers receiving top-quality support, training and around £165-£550 a week per child in their care, some of which goes towards food, clothes, toys and savings etc for the child.

For those who do not want to foster full time, the council's Lodgings Plus scheme may be ideal. Carers simply provide a spare room and around 10 hours of support per week to a vulnerable 16 to 24 year-old, helping them with things like learning to cook, applying for jobs, college or university and moving on to live independently. Lodgings Plus providers receive over £750 per month for each young person in their care, if providing or facilitating daily meals. Respite care can also be an ideal option, where foster carers would provide care on some evenings, some weekends and during some holiday periods.

Cllr Rob Wood, the council's Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: "We are particularly keen to speak to anyone at this event with any childcare experience, or experience of working with young people or people with disabilities, whether personal, professional or voluntary. If you don't have this experience, we can help you achieve this. Recruiting more adoptive families and foster carers is a council priority, and you can apply to adopt or foster regardless of ethnicity, sexuality, gender, whether single or part of a couple, and whether you rent or own your own home, as long as you have a spare room."

For more information on adoption or fostering in general, please visit adoption.portsmouth.gov.uk or foster.portsmouth.gov.uk.