The number of children in need of a foster home in the area has increased by a third, Wokingham Borough Council has revealed. 

As of April 1, 136 children are in care in the borough – an increase of approximately 40 over the past couple of years.  

With this, the need for foster carers is also increasing and the council is asking residents if they have the space and time to foster a child. 

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May 9 and 22 is Fostering Fortnight, an annual campaign spearheaded by The Fostering Network, which raises the profile of fostering and shows how foster carers change the lives of children and young people. 

Director of Children’s Services, Helen Watson, said: “Each day these people are taking children and young people into their homes, their lives, their families and their hearts, and I want to thank each and every one of them for doing that.”. 

A child may require going into care for many reasons, including parental illness, disability or death, they are an unaccompanied asylum seeker, it’s not safe for the child to live with their parent or a teenage parent needing a mother and baby placement. 

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Children and young people come into care for lots of reasons and will need different levels of support and care, so carers are matched in a way that is a good fit for all 

One such foster family in Wokingham, Emma, Alastair and their children, said: “Fostering was something we had talked about for some time, however it was only during the first lockdown that we really started to explore the idea more seriously. 

“[…] the little baby we have been caring for has been such a lovely addition to our family. Our own children, who are all teenagers, have all been incredibly helpful and thoughtful, which has made such a difference. I think it has made them appreciate their own lives more and made them more compassionate. 

“Although we are only at the start of our journey, we hope that we will be able to make a small difference in the lives of the children we care for by giving them a stable and loving home for the time they are with us.”  

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Residents have been supporting those in need over the past couple of years, most notably during the height of the pandemic to opening their homes to Ukrainian families fleeing the war 

Helen added: “We are asking the people of the borough to once again show their compassion and support for their neighbours by considering fostering a child and changing a life.” 

More information can be found on the council’s website.