KIND-HEARTED people are urgently needed to step forward and provide a loving home for needy children in Portsmouth.
Portsmouth City Council has launched a desperate appeal for more residents to become foster carer or adoptive parents.
It comes as the demand to provide caring homes for youngsters in the city – some of whom have survived traumatic experiences – is predicted to rise.
Foster carers claim the situation is threatening to ruin the futures of scores of children in the city.
Dianne Gash has been a foster carer in Portsmouth for a total of 25 years, providing long-term and short-term homes for about 10 children.
The grandmother-of-nine now fears that if more carers don’t come forward, needy youngsters could fall through the cracks.
The 65-year-old said: ‘I am worried that we don’t have enough carers because people don’t understand what foster caring is about.
‘It’s a commitment and something people have to think seriously about but it’s really rewarding. This is about watching these amazing children grow into to amazing adults and hopefully have children of their own.
‘These young people deserve to have a future and a supportive home.’
Portsmouth has 389 children on its books but this is expected to rise to more than 400.
To combat this, the council wants to recruit 50 new foster carers. It also aims to add a further 20 lodging plus carers to its roster, providing a room and out-of-hours support for young people aged 16-24.
Councillor Ryan Brent, the council’s cabinet member for children and families, urged people to sign up.
He said: ‘The new year can be a time for new beginnings and personal reflection, and we need to recruit more foster carers and adoptive families to provide stability and care for some of the city’s most vulnerable children and young people, who need a range of periods of care from short to longer term placements, or a permanent, stable family environment where they can grow, develop and achieve their goals.’
Fostering opportunities range from a stay at home full-time carer for a young child, to providing respite care or fostering a young person while continuing to work full or part-time.
Training is offered with carers receiving around £165-£550 per child in their care.
A drop-in event is being held at Holiday Inn Express in Farlington on Saturday, from 10am to 1pm for more details.