By Alan Vincent
A CAMPAIGN to find homes for children in Manchester and around the UK has been launched this week.
Foster Care Fortnight is part of an ongoing drive to recruit new families who will look after children as if they were their own.
There are over 350 families fostering in Manchester and over 480 children in need of homes, with ages ranging from 8 to 21 for children who may have special needs.
Councillor Sheila Newman, Executive Member for Children's Services in Manchester, said: "We are looking for good, caring, loving homes with foster parents who are patient and understanding, as children can come from difficult backgrounds.
"Parents need to be nurturing and warm, but also able to set boundaries.
"It may be for just a few weeks or much longer."
Manchester children will normally be placed with a family within 20 miles of where they are from.
Foster Care Fortnight takes place from the 17th to the 30th May and includes a Foster Information Open Day at Manchester Town Hall, which featured an exhibition of artwork, poems and stories by fostered children.
Councillor Newman said that more events are planned later this year in November.
To become a foster parent, you have to be over 21 years of age and have no criminal record, although a minor offence may still not disqualify you.
A potential carer also needs the space in their home with at least one bedroom and the time to devote to a child.
Councillor Newman said: "A foster parent can be married or single, gay or straight and from any ethnic background.
"There is a detailed assessment process and preparation groups which must be attended."
There is a shortage of 10,000 foster carers across the UK.
Anyone interested in finding out more about foster caring in Manchester can call the Council's Fosterline on 0800 988 8931 or visit www.manchester.gov.uk/fosteringadoption