24 May 2012

An Olympic torch-carrying foster carer and a fostering expert will be answering questions from the public in a web chat this afternoon.

Foster dad Alex Van Vliet and his wife have been foster carers of younger children for the county council since January 2010 specialising in short term placements. Alex has been selected to carry the Olympic torch through Wellingborough next month in recognition of his fostering work and his fundraising. Alex will be joined in the webchat by fostering social worker Nicky Carlton.

The webchat has been organised by Northamptonshire County Council and Northampton Chronicle and Echo to mark this year's Foster Care Fortnight (May 14-27).

The event takes place between noon and 1pm today and can be accessed by logging onto the Chronicle & Echo's website at: http://www.northamptonchron.co.uk.

Foster Care Fortnight is a national event organised by The Fostering Network to raise the profile of fostering; the charity estimates that at least 8,750 new foster carers are needed nationally in 2012.

The theme of this year’s Foster Care Fortnight is 22 minutes. This reflects the fact that a child comes into care and needs a foster family every 22 minutes across the UK. In Northamptonshire, a child comes into care every 14 hours.

For more information members of the public can call the fostering recruitment line on 0300 126 1009 or visit the council's website www.fosterme.co.uk.