A TRURO based fostering organisation is calling on local people to consider a career change as the coronavirus pandemic continues to negatively impact many industries across the UK.

Five Rivers Child Care, which has an office in Truro, is encouraging local residents to consider applying to foster a child or young person.

The number of children needing foster care in the UK has risen by 44% during the coronavirus pandemic. With more children and young people in Falmouth in need of a loving and safe home every day, Five Rivers says fostering can provide the job stability and flexibility that many people are looking for in this time of uncertainty.

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the fostering application process is still ongoing and Five Rivers Child Care says it is keen to stress that new carers are still very much needed. There have been some changes made to the application process during the COVID-19 outbreak, such as speaking to applicants on the phone or via video call instead of visiting them to ensure as much can as possible be done remotely before the in-person application begins.

Five Rivers Child Care is looking for individuals, couples and families from all backgrounds across Falmouth who may be interested in foster care. There is a wide variety of roles within fostering, including:

Long-term foster carers – Carers who can provide comfort and stability to children and young adults who are unable to live with their families. Depending on individual circumstances, children and young adults can remain with long-term carers until at least the age of 18 or when they are able to live independently.

Short-term foster carers - This can apply to an overnight stay or a period of a few months and is used when children or young people require time away from their birth families or existing care support.

Emergency foster carers – Emergency foster carers help bridge the gap between foster placements or reunification with friends, family or returning home.

Sibling group foster carers – Five Rivers Child Care aims to keep all sibling groups together where possible, and is currently looking for more foster carers who have the space, time and resources available to be able to look after sibling groups.

Parent and child fostering – Parent and child fostering involves fostering a new parent and their young baby to help develop and assess their parenting skills.

Specialist fostering - If you have previous experience working with children with specific care requirements, be they special educational needs, medical needs or significant behavioural challenges, you could be perfectly suited to specialist fostering.

Commenting on the current need for foster carers across Falmouth, Sarah Wells, Five Rivers Child Care fostering service manager for the West Country said: “We currently have a network of amazing foster carers across Cornwall and the West Country but we’re looking for even more local people who have the potential to become great foster carers to support the rising number of youngsters in need.

“We’d like to encourage caring individuals, who may be facing redundancy or a change in their job situation because of the coronavirus pandemic, to consider how rewarding fostering a child or young person can be. Fostering offers flexible working, a competitive fostering allowance, the comfort of working from home and job security because of the constant demand for carers. There is no need for previous experience, and you may find that you have transferable skills from current or past employment that will be invaluable to you as a foster carer. We offer 24/7 support from qualified and experienced staff and a wide range of specialist training.

“We’re eager to hear from people who are nurturing, compassionate and enjoy supporting others, as well as anyone who has questions about fostering and the variety of roles available.”

People from all walks of life can be considered to become foster carers as long as they are over 21 years of age. This includes single people, co-habiting couples, same sex couples and people living in rented accommodation. You will need a spare room for each foster child.

For more information on foster care contact Five Rivers Child Care on 0345 266 0272, email carer.enquiries@five-rivers.org or visit www.five-rivers.org.