A regional taskforce has been created in the West Midlands to find fostering families for some of the most vulnerable children in residential care.
The Big Fostering Partnership has been formed by Staffordshire County Council and Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council, the National Fostering Group and Big Issue Invest, the social investment arm of The Big Issue Group.
It aims to secure long-term, nurturing foster carers for children between the ages of seven and sixteen who currently live in children’s homes.
Although launching in the West Midlands, the Big Fostering Partnership are already talking with other authorities from across the country who are interested in joining the partnership.
‘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,’ said Staffordshire County Council’s deputy chief executive and director for families and communities, Helen Riley.
‘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 in later life.
‘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,’ she added.
Sergio Sanchez, investment manager, Big Issue Invest, added: ‘We are really excited to be involved in this partnership, which focuses on improving the lives of children by providing them with stable high-quality family-based placements. The partnership is the culmination of many months of collaboration and is based on a “child-first” outcomes-led approach. We are especially pleased to see that the children selected for our pilot project continue to be cared for in nurturing fostering families.’
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