27 January 2010

Northamptonshire County Council is today launching a new campaign calling on people to support vulnerable children in any way they can.

The campaign’s slogan ‘A day, a week, a month, a year, a lifetime’ reflects the numerous ways in which people can help and support children by fostering, adopting or offering disabled children short breaks.

The county council hopes this campaign will make it easier for people to understand the different ways in which they can help a child.

Cabinet member for children and young people Cllr Andrew Grant said: “Now more than ever we need people to think about all the different ways they can support children in Northamptonshire.

“There are probably many people who would like to make a difference to a child’s life but don’t know how, who to contact or what it would involve.

“We would urge people to give us a call or go onto our website to find out more. Don’t wait, do it now. There are dozens of children out there waiting for you to get in touch.”

Three ways people can help a child;

  • Fostering - This can be anything from emergency fostering, which involves looking after a child for a very short period of time, to short-term fostering, to permanence fostering, when a carer looks after a child until they are 18, and hopefully beyond.
  • Adoption – Becoming the legal guardians of a child for a lifetime. We currently have a number of children over the age of six who are often hard to find adoptive parents for.
  • Family link carer – Becoming a carer to a disabled child to give the child a chance to widen their horizons and make new friends, while their parents have a much needed break. Carers can give any amount of time to the scheme ranging from a few hours, to a weekend, to a month.

Director of children and young people at the county council Paul Burnett said: “We highlighted last year the pressure the steep rise in the number of children coming into our care had placed on our fostering service and in turn on our adoption service.

“We had a fantastic response from the people of Northamptonshire with many enquiries but we need people to keep calling.

“Every day a vulnerable child, through no fault of their own, will need to be safeguarded by this authority. The more people we have who want to help the more options we have to offer these children.

“Fostering may not be right for some people but if they give us a call we can discuss with them other ways in which they could support a child.”

If you would like to know more please telephone 01604 236623 or email a&f@northamptonshire.gov.uk or visit our website at www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/adoptionfostering

Additional information:

  • Since the beginning of 2009 the number of looked after children has increased from 593 to just under 700, creating enormous pressure on the council’s fostering services. It has also meant the authority has had to find more potential adopters for those children who are suitable for adoption.
  • The county council currently has 175 fostering households but needs to recruit dozens more. There are different types of fostering including, emergency, short-term and permanence and foster carers are paid an allowance and a further payment which increases as the carers skills increase.
  • The Family Link Scheme currently has 75 carers who are supporting 96 children. There are currently 15 children waiting for links.

The campaign will involve posters, adverts on Heart FM for four weeks and the displaying of the Supporting Children in Northamptonshire artwork in more than 30 phone booths across Northamptonshire.