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Thursday, 23 October 2014

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Police and council back foster friendly campaign

Cumbria Constabulary and Allerdale council have both committed to joining the News & Star’s and Cumbria County Council’s fostering friendly campaign.

Foster friendly logo

The initiative reflects the growing need for new carers to sign up to be foster parents and help children who are in need of a home.

There are 639 children in care across the county, with a total of 46 under the age of one and 142 aged from one to four.

We are encouraging businesses and employers to endeavour to assist prospective foster carers.

Michelle Skeer, assistant chief constable of Cumbria Constabulary, said: “We fully support the drive to recruit more foster carers and the fostering friendly employer scheme.

“As a force we are always looking for ways in which we can help support the community.

“Every child deserves the chance to grow up in a loving and caring environment and we are happy to support officers or staff that want to take the steps to become foster carers.”

Foster families have revealed their stories to the News & Star.

Maryport resident Annabelle Hoggan, 51, along with foster children Lucy-Mae, 16, and 22-year-old Chantelle, spoke to us about their lives.

Annabelle has been fostering for more than two decades, taking in six children on a long-term basis and five for respite care.

And Sue and Barry Shearman, also of Maryport, have taken in more than 170 foster children over 34 years.

Longtown residents Kathryne and Graham Lamb only got involved 18 months ago, but are no less passionate about providing care for young children.

And Allerdale Council chief executive Ian Frost pledged the council’s commitment to the cause.

He said: “Allerdale Council, as a responsible employer, has committed to providing an additional five days paid leave to employees that become foster parents.

“The fostering process is rightly rigorous and time consuming with various training and assessments needed to take place prior to being accepted.

“We therefore recognise the commitment it takes to become a foster parent and are willing to do what we can to encourage and support any staff taking on this valuable role.”

The News & Star and Cumbria County Council urge prospective carers to call the county council on 0303 333 1216 or visit www.cumbria.gov.uk/fostering. And any businesses interested in signing up for the campaign can go to the same web address or call the council on 01228 226329.

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