Local Cumbria MP Rory Stewart paid a visit to one of Family Fostercare Cumbria's wonderful foster families recently to learn more about fostering.
His visit coincided with Foster Care Fortnight, a nationwide appeal spearheaded by the Fostering Network and supported by independent fostering agencies, local authorities and plenty of people in the public eye, to raise awareness about fostering.
Having decided he wanted to be involved in the appeal for more people to come forward to foster, Mr Stewart decided to visit a local foster family to find out more about fostering and how it can benefit some of the most vulnerable children in Cumbria. Mr Stewart visited our foster carers John and Diana Yerkess, and in a very informal and relaxed chat, heard from them how they had come to be foster carers, what motivated them to start and what keeps them motivated, and what their work means to them.
John and Diana certainly made an impression with their committment to the children they foster, and their dedication to their role as foster carers. Mr Stewart personally thanked them for their work helping to provide a safe and stable home environment to young children, and praised them for their dedication and for fostering eight children over the course of six years.
During his visit Mr Stewart said,
Fostering is something that is so important in our society, and I have learnt a great deal on today’s visit, for which I would like to thank Mr and Mrs Yerkess. We desperately need more people to come forward and open their homes to some very vulnerable young children who might otherwise miss out on something so very important: a carefree childhood. Foster carers like John and Diana are doing a tremendous thing, providing the very best possible start in life where it is needed most. I do hope that other people will consider doing the same, if they have the means and the energy to do so.
A staggering 1200 new foster carers are needed in Cumbria this year, and having high-profile figures like Mr Stewart take an interest in fostering will certainly help to raise awareness. If his visit helps to encourage even just a handful of people to come forward to find out more then that’s great - just one foster family can make a world of difference to scores of children over their career, as John and Diana Yerkess are well on their way to doing.
You can read a full report on Rory Stewart's visit with one of Family Fostercare's foster families on his website blog.
For now, all we would like to say is thank you to Mr Stewart for taking the time for fostering, and a great big thank you to John and Diana Yerkess for representing themselves, foster carers and Family Fostercare so well. And while we're at it, a great big thankyou to all our dedicated foster carers who do so much for the children they look after, and to promote fostering in our communities.