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East of England local authorities collaborate to appeal for more foster families to work with their local council

29 May 2024

Eleven local authorities across the East of England have joined forces in a bid to collectively recruit more foster carers to look after some of the region’s most vulnerable children.

Peterborough City Council is taking part in the new initiative for fostering, under the banner Foster East. There is an urgent need for foster carers in the East of England with more than 7,000 vulnerable children already in the care of their local authority, and a further 150 more children coming into care every month.

The Foster East initiative which is funded by the Department of Education and launched today 29 May, is a new, collaborative approach to foster carer recruitment and support. Councils will work together to provide more comprehensive training, support and best practice. Each applicant will be nurtured through their fostering journey with their local council and via a buddy network. Foster East advisors will help people find out how fostering can become part of their life.

In Peterborough there are more than 420 children and young people, ranging from babies to 18-year-olds who need safe, loving and nurturing homes where they can thrive and develop. Every local authority aims to keep children and young people local to their support networks, but a shortage of foster families in our area means this is not always possible.

Fostering is a flexible role with options for short term care from a weekend a month to longer term opportunities, all providing life-changing support for local children.

John Gregg, Peterborough City Council's Executive Director for Children and Young People’s Services, said: "With the launch of Foster East, in collaboration with 11 dedicated councils, we are taking a significant step forward in creating a brighter future for children and young people in need of care. This initiative embodies our collective commitment to providing nurturing homes and unwavering support for our most vulnerable, ensuring they have the opportunity to thrive.”

“By working together, local authorities can share resources, expertise, and best practices, leading to more efficient and effective services for foster families and children. This collaborative effort not only enhances our ability to meet the diverse needs of children and young people in care but also strengthens our communities by fostering a sense of unity and shared purpose."

Foster carers working for independent fostering agencies are invited to transfer to their local council via Foster East. They will benefit from local training, and a linked foster carers support network which will offer respite care for foster families needing a break.