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More than 140 Hampshire foster carers needed to help vulnerable children
6:00am Monday 9th September 2013 in News
HAMPSHIRE is struggling to recruit enough foster carers to help support and nurture some of the county’s most vulnerable children.
According to figures released to the Daily Echo, more than 140 are needed to help give children and young people a secure and stable home.
A county council spokesman said: “There are 1150 children in care in Hampshire and there are 807 in different forms of foster care.
“Because of continuing demand in the numbers of children looked after, and also to replace foster carers that are likely to retire or leave for other reasons, the county council is looking to recruit at least 80 to 100 additional foster carers.”
Currently Southampton has 490 children and teenagers in its care and but it needs 40 extra foster carers to make sure they have foster homes and chance to grow up and in stable home.
Student Whitney Phippard was fostered aged 13.
She told the Daily Echo that without her foster carers, Jo and Darren, she would have never have achieved 10 GSCEs at C and above and gone on to college to take a beauty course. She said: “Without the support from social services, and Jo and Darren’s dedication to fostering and their belief in me, I would not have achieved what I have today. “Being fostered has given me opportunities I could have only have dreamed of, I am fit, healthy and most of all very happy and have a positive future to look forward to.”
Jacqueline Georghiou, children’s placement manager in the South East at Action for Children, said she believed that people’s misconceptions about fostering were stopping people from giving youngsters like Whitney a chance.
A survey of people in the region found 62 per cent thinks that if you are over 55 you will not be approved as a carer and more than a third believe think you need to remain in full time employment and are unaware that carers are given financial support.
A third of people are also under the assumption that if you are gay you can’t foster.
Ms Georghiou said: “With myths preventing people from coming forward, and the public not knowing the true extent of just how many children are currently in care, we are on course for a crisis.
“There’s an urgent need to tackle these misconceptions to move children into loving homes so they have the stability they need.”
Anyone interested in becoming a foster carer can contact Hampshire County Council on 0845 6035620 or visit hants.gov.uk/fostering
In Southampton, log on to southampton.gov.uk/fostering or call 0800 5191818.
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