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On any one day there are more than 62,000 children living with foster families across the UK.

The Fostering Network estimates another 8,600 foster carers are needed this year alone to provide a supportive, stable and caring home for these vulnerable children.

As we report today, Portsmouth and Hampshire councils are equally in need.

The city requires an extra 35 carers by next March in addition to the 137 families it has already who look after 157 children.

It is a huge commitment for any couple to make, but if you read the feature about Patricia and Graham Kelly-Blyth from Fareham, you will get an idea of the satisfaction and joy it gives them and the transforming effect it can have on the children for whom they care.

In the past 18 years they have taken about 50 children into their home and made them part of their lives.

Patricia says: ‘We enjoy helping the children that come to us... and it doesn’t take much to make a child feel valued and special.

‘We have had so many children who come to the door and their eyes are dead. Watching them slowly grow and learning to trust adults is so fulfilling.’

They foster for Hampshire County Council which is looking for potential foster parents in Gosport, Havant and Fareham.

But have you got what it takes?

Foster carers can provide care in emergencies, caring for a child for just a few days, or perhaps over a weekend to give the main foster carer a break.

Or it can be for longer periods, sometimes throughout a child’s formative years up to the age of 21.

Whether it’s overnight or for a number of years, foster carers can provide the support, stability and care a fostered child needs.

Being a foster carer is parenting at its grittiest – let us be honest about it. Abused and neglected children need foster carers who have tolerance and understanding in spades.

If you have wondered if you could make a difference, why not go along to one of the events run by the two authorities to find out more.

You might just save a child’s life.

To read the full story click here.