Councils join forces to secure positive futures for children in care

Two councils in the West Midlands have agreed to work together to find resilient fostering families for some of the most vulnerable children in care in the region.

‘The Big Fostering Partnership’, part funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Life Chances Fund, will see Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council and Staffordshire County Council come together to pool resources and expertise.

The partnership, which includes the National Fostering Group and Big Issue Invest, will help secure long-term foster carers for children between the ages of seven and 16 who currently live in children’s homes.

Many of the young people will have lived in a number of different places before living in a children’s home and may have experienced trauma and therefore struggle to form relationships.

By securing resilient foster families, with the right skills, experience and support, the partnership will help young people reach their full potential.

Once a young person has been identified, the partnership will use its national network of carers to find potential foster families.

Commenting, Staffordshire County Council’s Deputy Chief Executive and Director for Families and Communities, Helen Riley said: “We have built up a wonderful network of foster carers who can provide stable homes for the majority of children who come into our care.

“However, we do have a need for more specialist foster families who can support those children with additional needs through the most challenging periods of their lives. This partnership provides another option to help us meet the needs of the children in our care.

“Research shows that the stability of a family environment can help children to reach their full potential and whilst residential care is absolutely the right place for some children, we also know that for others, a foster family will better meet their needs now and into the future.

“Working with our partners allows us to share our strengths and experiences to help get these children into the right family as quickly as possible. Having access to a larger pool of foster carers means we can often match a young person with a family, where we have previously been unable to in the past.”

Although launching in the West Midlands, the Big Fostering Partnership is already speaking with other local authorities across the country who are interested in joining the partnership.

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