AN URGENT drive has been launched to find new foster carers and transform the lives of young people in Southampton.

There an “urgent need” for new foster carers in the city.

Today marks the start of Foster Care Fortnight which celebrates the vital role that carers play in changing the lives of youngsters across Southampton.

Running until Sunday, May 23, the initiative was launched by the Fostering Network and encourages people to learn more about fostering.

According to Southampton City Council, foster carer applications are welcome from people aged over 21 who are single, in a relationship, married or divorced, with or without their children and regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

To teach people about the practical aspects of fostering and the application process, the council is running a free virtual information session on Thursday at 7.30pm on its website.

Rob Henderson, executive director of wellbeing for children and learning at the council, said: “Our foster carers are an enormously valued part of the ‘Southampton family’ and represent the very best of the city, often going the extra mile to keep children safe and comfortable in sometimes challenging circumstances.

“All of us have been so impressed by the way that foster carers have adapted, adjusted and continued to support children in the midst of a major pandemic and we are all immensely grateful for everything they are doing.

“With more children in Southampton still needing the stability that a foster placement can bring, there’s never been a more important time to consider becoming a foster carer and changing a child’s life.”

The council is also launching a new fostering scheme and is looking for people who have experience of working with children, young people or adults.

Dubbed ‘step-across fostering’, it aims to find specialist homes for youngsters wishing to move away from care and back into a family environment. People who become step-across foster carers reportedly receive a high level of support and pay equivalent to a full-time salary when they have a child in their care.

For more information email or call 0800 5 191818.