Fostering is a Family Affair
A woman from South Tyneside is lending her support to a campaign to encourage more people to think about becoming foster carers.
Foster carer Emma Munday followed in her parents' footsteps 19 years ago when she first decided to foster.
"The fact that my parents fostered definitely inspired me to go into fostering," she said.
"A lot of children don't see the help they can give to other kids. The rewards of fostering far outweigh the troubled times and I know I have enriched my own children's lives by fostering."
Emma's sister Claire and their cousin, Paul Handy and his wife Paula, are all now foster carers.
Emma and her husband Greg were part of the first Mockingbird model of foster care in South Tyneside which uses the concept of the extended family to provide additional structure and support for both carers and children.
Emma, 46, said: "The Mockingbird model is just fantastic in that it provides a wall of support, it's just phenomenal.
"The support from the fostering team has always been outstanding but Mockingbird means that there are always people around who understand the issues you are facing and can offer advice. For anyone thinking about fostering, I would say now is the time to find out more from the Council because the level of support is just so fantastic."
The Council is looking to recruit more foster carers in line with its priority of supporting young people in need.
Councillor Adam Ellison, Lead Member for Children, Young People and Families, said: "Our network of foster carers do an amazing job in helping us to transform the lives of children and young people who, for a variety of reasons, cannot be with their birth family.
"I would like to thank each and every one of them for their continued dedication and support in helping us give every child the best start in life."