Could you change a child’s life by sharing yours in 2023?

In its latest campaign Cumbria County Council’s fostering service is urgently appealing for more people to transform a child’s life by sharing their own in 2023.

Cumbria County Council already supports around 275 fostering households, who offer stability and support to vulnerable children and young people who can’t be with their own families.

But with more than 750 children in care in Cumbria, it urgently needs more people to come forward as foster carers to help transform children’s lives this year and in the future.

Adele Hwozdyk and her husband Lee, from Penrith, have fostered for 13 years and are short term carers for a brother and sister aged 10 and 12.  

Adele said: “I really enjoyed being a parent to our own sons and got so much out of it. We felt we’d been very lucky and really wanted to give something back and make a difference to the lives of other children.

“We’ve really enjoyed being short term carers and moving children on to adoption or back to family is incredibly rewarding. I would urge anyone thinking of fostering to speak to the council and other carers and find out more.

“The support is there for you and our social workers have been fantastic. We’ve also had access to training when we’ve needed it. I can honestly say that fostering is one of the best things we’ve ever done.”

Milnthorpe’s Genevieve Spencer, along with her husband Neil and son Will, is a respite carer who started fostering last July.

Gen, who has a background working in children’s residential care homes, said: “We had a spare room and only one child of our own and I knew there were so many kids out there that need a family – if only for a little bit.

“You are giving children who’ve all had experiences you cannot comprehend, a safe, nurturing space where they can just be kids again. Fostering part-time can be as flexible and fluid as it needs to be to fit around your other commitments.”

Penrith’s Sharon Sanderson fosters with her husband Dan and their daughters aged 17 and 20. They are short term foster carers for a little boy aged 8.

Sharon, who was headteacher at Penrith’s Brunswick School for 11 years before leaving to start fostering, said: “If you have got a passion for working with vulnerable children and want to make a difference, then fostering gives you the time and flexibility you need to do it – alongside being there for your own family.

To become a foster carer you must be over 21 and have at least one spare bedroom and the time and availability to care for a child. As a foster carer for Cumbria County Council, you will receive full, ongoing training and 24/7 support. You will also receive a competitive financial package of fees and allowances; newly approved carers can expect to receive up to £290 a week for each child they foster, and experienced carers up to £488.

Cllr Anne Burns, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said:“Our foster carers are well supported by our dedicated team and help to keep Cumbrian children in the county, close to family and community links. In 2023 we are urgently looking for more people to join our community of foster carers and would love to hear from anyone who thinks they may have what it takes.”

Find out more at an upcoming event:

If you are interested in finding out more about fostering, why not attend one of our upcoming events in your area and speak to our friendly team and foster carers:

  • Tuesday 10 January – Join our virtual fostering event online from 6.30pm to 7.30pm. Join the meeting on Zoom and wait to be let in from the waiting room!
  • Thursday 12 January – Barrow fostering drop in at Costa Coffee, Hindpool Retail Park, Hindpool Road, LA14 2PD from 11am to 1pm.
  • Thursday 19 January – Workington fostering information event at the Washington Hotel, Washington Street, CA14 3AY from 6pm to 8pm. Come along at 6pm to watch a short presentation on fostering and speak to our team and carers.
  • Thursday 26 January – Kendal fostering information event at Stramongate School from 6pm to 8pm. Come along at 6pm to watch a short presentation on fostering and speak to our team and carers. Parking is available on the school premises and access is via Sandes Avenue, Kendal.
  • Saturday 28 January – Carlisle fostering information event at the Crown and Mitre Hotel, English Street, CA3 8HZ from 12pm to 2pm. Come along at 12pm to watch a short presentation on fostering and speak to our team and carers.

Alternatively speak to us today on 0303 333 1216 or register your interest online at cumbria.gov.uk/fostering


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