A new campaign from the County Council’s Fostering Service shares the life changing stories of children who have fled to the UK in search of safety, and the incredible foster carers who have welcomed them into their homes. It seeks to inspire more prospective carers to come forward and follows an initial campaign launched last summer highlighting the need for more loving, stable homes for these children in Hampshire.

Councillor Edward Heron, the County Council’s Cabinet Lead Member for Children’s Services, said: “While we have seen more remarkable people step up to join our fostering community since our campaign last summer, we still urgently need more  people to open their homes and provide the care, safety and security so desperately needed by these children. 

“What is clear from the inspiring stories shared in this campaign is the extraordinary capacity of fostering to truly change lives – for both the child and the carer alike. While it goes without saying that the role of a foster carer can make an immense difference to a child seeking refuge, carers have also spoken of what they have been able to learn in their own lives as a result of fostering. I would urge anyone looking to give something back, to get in touch with our Fostering Service and take those first steps towards transforming the life of a very vulnerable child at their greatest time of need.”

Susan is a short-term foster carer who has been fostering for seven years. She commented on the huge rewards of fostering a child seeking refuge: “The most enjoyable thing is the learning these children bring us, the insights, and their journey. It gives you a whole new perspective into the lives of those who seek asylum and that there is a story behind each person.”

Mike and Hayley, out-of-hours foster carers who have been fostering for five years, added: “It’s very rewarding seeing such a quick change in the children – you see an immediate benefit.”

The new campaign also follows the story of Taha, a 19-year-old from Sudan who now lives and works in London. He describes how after he came to his foster carer Caroline in Hampshire, “everything started looking really good. I was really happy. My foster carer was like a mother to me; she helped me with everything and would be there emotionally. Words can’t describe Caroline.”

Taha’s foster carer Caroline added: “Taha is a social, able young man. He took everything in his stride and threw himself into our family. I’m just so proud of him now for the life he has made for himself.” 

Anyone aged over 21 and from all walks of life can become a foster carer. The only requirement is a spare room – and of course, plenty of patience, resilience, open-mindedness and positivity. There are many different types of arrangements available, from full-time fostering to more flexible options that fit around home and work-life commitments.

Visit the Fostering Hampshire Children website to find out more about fostering a child seeking refugeupcoming events, and for more information about the extensive training and support available for foster carers.