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14 September 2021

Foster carers from Barrow ask others to consider ‘life changing’ role

A foster carer from Barrow is urging local people to attend an upcoming information event and find out more about fostering, as part of Cumbria County Council’s latest campaign to find more foster homes for vulnerable children.

Jonny Harrison, who has fostered for nine years along with wife Ros, said: “There’s no harm in exploring your options and finding out a little bit more. You might just find that you look back on it as the best decision you ever made!”

While the council supports around 275 foster carers already, more are needed to ensure children can remain close to their friends, school and extended family. There are 725 children and young people in care across Cumbria, with the greatest need being for carers for 10 to 16-year olds, sibling groups, and children needing permanent or long-term placements.

Experienced foster carers Jonny and Ros have cared for children of all ages on a long and short term basis but particularly enjoy fostering older children and teens.

Jonny said: “We’ve both worked in youth work for a long time and I was a teacher as well and found working with teenagers really rewarding. There’s an element of relationship building that is easier with a teenager than a much young child.

“What you need to remember is that children have needs at every age and I love the fact that I can have a laugh and a joke with a teenager and we can all do things together as a family.”

Ros added that the rewards of fostering are the same, no matter what age group you foster: “I really enjoy seeing the progress they make from when they first come in to when they leave us. Just to have them as part of the family and for them to feel part of the family and that it is their home is really rewarding. As a family and as a couple we have all grown together through our fostering journey.”

While fostering is not without challenges, Ros said that the support is there: “The fostering service has been fantastic and we can always contact someone even out of hours. We’ve also had great support through other foster carers s well and that network you make at support groups. The training has been good, with intensive training available in specialised areas when you need it.”

Foster carers come from all walks of life but must be over the age of 21, have a spare bedroom in their home and have an empathetic, caring, and resilient nature.

Council foster carers benefit from having support from a locally-based social worker, as well as access to specialist services when they need them and a network of support from other local carers. In addition to this they receive ongoing training, opportunities for development and generous fees and allowances for each child in their care.

If your circumstances have changed due to the COVID pandemic or you feel ready for a change of career and would like to help change children’s lives, then we’d love to hear from you.

Speak to our friendly team and carers at an upcoming event:

  • 'Meet our Homestays providers' - Thursday 16 September from 7pm to 8pmon Zoom. 
  • Fostering information stand - Saturday 25 September from 12pm to 4pm at Cumbria Pride at Carlisle Castle on
  • Online fostering information event - Tuesday 28 September from 6.30pm to 8pm.  

For further information please visit  cumbria.gov.uk/fostering or call us on 0303 333 1216.


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A foster carer from Barrow is urging local people to attend an upcoming information event and find out more about fostering, as part of Cumbria County Council’s latest campaign to find more foster homes for vulnerable children.