A CHILDREN’S charity is urging people in Hastings to consider putting themselves forward to become potential foster parents.
Barnardo’s said older children, those aged 10 and over, were particularly in desperate need of a loving home.
Nearly 12,000 of all the children who entered care in England last year were aged 10 and over.
Barnardo’s said there is a shortage of foster families across the south east, with at least 900 needing to be found within the next 12 months.
Mandy Carslake, from Little Ridge Avenue, St Leonards, has been a foster carer through Barnardo’s fostering service for two years and is currently providing long-term foster care for a 15-year-old boy.
She also has two sons, one aged 12 and the other aged 18.
Mrs Carslake said: “I always used to hear about older children who were being moved from pillar to post and I realised we could really help provide a stable family life for a young person.
“There are so many children out there who don’t have what our children have.
“The young lad we currently foster has Attention Defecit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). When he first came to stay with us he had low self-esteem and was encountering problems at school. He didn’t seem to care about anything.
“However, we would sit down and talk to him and treat him like one of our own. We involved him in decision-making and eventually he started to have a sense of belonging.
“Although there have been some challenging moments, the rewards have been immense. It has been so wonderful to see a positive change in him and for other people to notice the difference too.
“When our boy does eventually leave I know it will be extremely satisfying to know that we have made a difference to his life.”
Michelle Lee-Izu, Barnardo’s south east director, said: “Older children need looking after just as much as infants and babies, in order to thrive. We know from our experience that older children in care can need extra support. They need carers who can help them overcome emotional and behavioural difficulties, and provide much-needed stability.”
To find out more about fostering and adoption, call 08000 277 280 or visit www.barnardos.org.uk/fosteringandadoption.