Ipswich: Can you help make dreams come true for children in care? Have you ever considered fostering or adoption?

Stock image of a family

Stock image of a family - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Urgent calls have been made for new foster carers in Ipswich to come forward after new figures revealed a major shortage in the town,

Suffolk County Council’s fostering and adoptions teams are joining forces today to launch their first joint campaign: Give a Suffolk child the care they dream about.

The drive hopes to address a county-wide shortage of carers. In Ipswich alone, 70 new adopters and 80 foster carers are needed to meet the needs of the town’s 730 children in care.

Highlighting the “heartbreakingly simple” dreams of young people to be part of a loving family, the campaign calls upon caring people to help make those a reality.

Prospective carers are invited to an engagement event outside the Town Hall in Ipswich from 9am to 5pm today, at which the teams will be offering advice on how to volunteer.

It comes as figures released by Action for Children today reveal that a fifth of siblings taken into care in the south east of England are separated.

The charity warns that splitting up brothers and sisters worsens feelings of loss and abandonment, which affects children’s mental health and wellbeing, and can lead to problems in later life such as drug and alcohol dependency.

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Although Suffolk’s separation rate is the lowest in the south east - with just 7% of sibling groups split - the calls for new carers in Ipswich are being focused on people who can look after sibling groups and adolescents.

Gordon Jones, who is responsible for children’s services at Suffolk County Council, said the campaign would help raise the profile of Suffolk’s “already outstanding fostering and adoption services”.

“It is so important that we reach out to prospective carers to find loving family homes for children who, for whatever reason, are unable to live with their birth parents,” he added.

“I am hopeful that our ‘Give a Suffolk child the care they dream about’ campaign will serve to empower prospective carers and encourage them to consider being the one who could make a difference in a child’s life and be the one to achieve their dreams.”

Those attending today’s engagement events who are interested in finding out more about fostering and adoption will be given a “Dream Ticket”. The contact details of the prospective carer will be taken on the ticket and torn off on a stub for the team to follow up with a phone call within the next 48 hours.

To find out more call the team on 01473 264800, or email: fosterandadopt@suffolk.gov.uk.

Action for Children can also be contacted at www.actionforchildren.org.uk or by calling 0845 200 5162.