CORONAVIRUS is creating an extra demand for foster parents in the Wokingham borough as would-be carers are called to come forward.

While there are 64 foster families in the borough, many more families are urgently needed to look after young people in care. Covid-19 will ‘very probably’ cause more children coming into care and needing foster homes, according to Wokingham Borough Council.

Foster parents receive benefits like council tax exemption and specialist therapy training, while experienced carers looking after two children can earn more than £25,000.

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Two new foster parents, Matt and Natasha Lee, spoke about their experiences since starting last year.

They said: “Fostering is something that we had talked about for many years. Within a few days of being approved as foster carers, we had a young boy placed with us for a few weeks of respite care. Shortly after this, we had siblings of seven and two years of age placed in our care.

“After six months, it would be a lie to say that it’s all been plain-sailing or easy, but we never expected it to be. Fostering throws up challenges all the same as anything in life, and at times can be emotionally tiring.

“But how the whole extended family has dealt with those challenges, and overcome them, gives the most positive feeling imaginable.”

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Foster parents are needed in the borough to look after children including teenagers, siblings, asylum seekers, and children with disabilities. The council is still actively recruiting carers during the coronavirus lockdown.

Councillor UllaKarin Clark, lead for children’s services, said: “Becoming a foster carer is open to a broad range of people. What’s important is being able to provide a safe and loving home for the young people in our care.

“Get in touch with our team to find out about starting the journey to become a brilliant foster family — while getting paid, and access to a host of other benefits and training.”