Heartfelt words of thanks have been sent by foster children to mark the start of Foster Care Fortnight.
‘Thank you for saving us every day’ is just one of the messages sent by members of West Sussex’s Children in Care Council to their foster families.
Around 60 new foster carers are needed every year to help care for children in West Sussex. There are currently 650 children in foster care.
Stephen Hillier, West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children – Start of Life, said: “Across the UK a child is in need of a foster family every 20 minutes and in West Sussex there are currently 300 approved foster carers who help these children in need.
"But the honest truth is that we need more people to open their doors and offer a loving home and, with our support, provide someone with a much happier childhood and a better chance of a better adulthood.”
Ahead of Foster Care Fortnight which starts on 16 May, a mother of two - who was previously in foster care in West Sussex - has spoken about how it changed her life. Whilst she was growing up Elizabeth’s father had a problem with alcohol and her mother suffered from a mental illness.
Elizabeth said: “There wasn’t anyone there to cook for me or take me to school. I used to fall asleep on the sofa and be woken to my father beating my younger brother. We’d have our heads bashed so hard we’d all cry so much.
“I was taken into care and fostered till my grandparents came forward. I was encouraged to speak about my feelings with my foster carers. If it wasn’t for them I could well have ended up dead.
"Thanks to foster carers, many children each day are saved and given the bright futures that they deserve.”
To foster a child, people need:
• A spare room
• A sense of humour
• Advocacy skills
• Some experience with children or teenagers