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Agency manager urges more people to consider becoming foster parents

PUBLISHED: 10:17 03 July 2018 | UPDATED: 10:17 03 July 2018

The team at Little Acorns Fostering agency in Haverhill. Left to right, Ana Freitas, Cheryl Jillions, Mick Jillions, Emily Shore and Jo Bilbow  Picture: GREGG BROWN

The team at Little Acorns Fostering agency in Haverhill. Left to right, Ana Freitas, Cheryl Jillions, Mick Jillions, Emily Shore and Jo Bilbow Picture: GREGG BROWN

The manager of an independent fostering agency in west Suffolk has made an impassioned plea for more people in the east to consider providing stable and loving homes for children.

Nationally, a growing number of foster parents are needed and figures by the Fostering Network revealed an extra 610 foster families were required in the east of England last year.

According to statistics by the Department for Education (DfE), 35 more children came into care than left in Suffolk during 2017, while 80 more came into care than left in Cambridgeshire last year.

Cheryl Jillions, registered manager at Little Acorns, in Great Wratting, near Haverhill, said some people are put off becoming foster parents due to hearing negative stories about the process.

She said: “We really do need more people to come forward to provide loving and supportive family environments to children and young people across the east of England.

“One of the issues we face is some people are put off fostering due to the horror stories they hear but for each negative there are hundreds of wonderful stories.

“There is a stigma attached to children in care as they can come from difficult backgrounds, however nine times out of 10 when a child is taken out of a difficult situation and looked after by a loving family the turnaround in their behaviour is tangible, sometimes remarkable.

“These children need a chance as they often come from physically, sexually and mentally abusive backgrounds and they need people to step forward and help them.

“Our foster carers often comment on how satisfying it is helping a child or young person achieve happiness and doing something positive with their lives.”

The agency works closely with local authorities and social services in west Suffolk, south Cambridgeshire, and north Essex to ensure children are placed with the most appropriate family to meet their individual needs.

Without more foster families coming forward some children may find themselves living a long way from their home towns, schools and friends and being split up from their brothers or sisters, which could have a detrimental effect on their behaviour.

“Foster parents are not left to cope alone. When registered with a fostering agency such as Little Acorns they are supported every step of the way by highly trained professionals, provided with a designated supervisor and have access to our 24 hour helpline,” Mrs Jillions added.

For more information on Little Acorns Fostering go to www.littleacornsfostering.co.uk

Alternatively, people can telephone on 01440 732010 or email enquiries@littleacornsfostering.co.uk

Further information on fostering can be found at the Fostering Network at www.thefosteringnetwork.org.uk

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