Interested in becoming a foster carer?
In the Wakefield area there are many children in need of a safe and caring home.
During Foster Care Fortnight (May 8 - 21), the Council is highlighting opportunities for local people to make a huge difference to a child's life. It is seeking residents who would be able and willing to become foster carers.
The Council is keen to hear from anyone interested in finding out more. More foster carers are needed, including those who could care for sibling groups and older children.
Lorraine Williams (pictured with her family) became a foster carer four years ago. The mum of four, whose children are grown-up, came along to an information session and spoke to others who had fostered about their experiences.
Lorraine said: "Fostering is hugely rewarding and I'd recommend it to others. Everything you put into fostering you get back tenfold. Yes, there are challenges, but I can pick up the phone at any time and I know if I need it, the backup is there, so you're not on your own."
Foster carers are given training and have their own support worker from whom they receive regular visits. They also have opportunities to meet other foster carers.
Lorraine says her own children, in their teens and early 20s, have also benefitted by gaining an understanding of the challenges that other children face.
She added: "If you are thinking about fostering I'd suggest finding out more. Fostering is a very positive experience and it's great to know that you can help to make a difference to a child's life."
Cllr Olivia Rowley, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: "Fostering can be extremely rewarding and it offers people the opportunity to use their skills to help shape a child's future for the better.
"If you think you can provide a supportive and stable environment for children or young people, please get in touch to find out more."
Foster carers need to be over the age of 21 and have a spare room. No special qualifications are needed, but carers must want to make a real, positive, difference to a child's life.
People can apply regardless of your marital status, sexuality, religious or cultural background. They don't have to be a homeowner, or employed, and can be with or without children.
People need to have patience, tolerance, energy and flexibility and most importantly the ability to provide a loving and secure home for a child.
Allowances, training and support are provided throughout.
A fostering information drop in session will be taking place on Thursday 18 May between 4.30pm and 6.30pm at Town Hall, Wood Street, Wakefield, WF1 2HQ. No appointment is needed. An approved foster carer will be attending the event for people to speak to.
To find out more visit www.wakefield.gov.uk/fostering Or call 0800 197 0320.