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Fostering the Best Start for Children
South Tyneside Council is backing a national campaign aimed at encouraging more people to think about fostering.
The theme of this year's Foster Care Fortnight, which runs until 24 May, is 'This is Fostering' which seeks to highlight how foster homes can transform the lives of children and young people across the country.
One South Tyneside couple who have changed the lives of more than 70 children over the years is Ann Shaw, 63, and her husband Bob.
Ann said: "We really enjoy fostering. We love to give the children in our care positive experiences such as parties and holidays.
"You get a great sense of achievement through fostering. Knowing you are giving a child stability and a taste of what life should be like just makes us happy."
The Council is looking for more people who can offer a stable, loving home to children - particularly those in sibling groups - who cannot be with their birth family.
Foster carers can be married or same sex couples or single but must be aged at least 25.
South Tyneside Council's Children's Services have been ranked one of the best in the country after being rated "Good" by Ofsted. Fostering services were commended for their comprehensive training and support to carers and children in placement.
The Council runs a Payment for Skills model which means foster carers are paid an additional fee according to their experience and qualifications in addition to the weekly allowance payments they receive.
Councillor Moira Smith, Lead Member for Children, Young People and Families, said: "While the world is focused on the coronavirus pandemic, it is business as usual for the fostering service.
"Even in these unprecedented times we remain committed to giving all our children the best start in life. Our foster carers play a hugely important role in transforming the lives of children who, for whatever reason, cannot be with their birth parents."
She added: "Our foster carers are as diverse as the children they care for. Although not to be undertaken lightly, the rewards offered by fostering are immense and I would encourage anyone thinking about it to find out the facts by calling our team."