Actress launches campaign to find more foster carers

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EMMERDALE actress Chelsea Halfpenny has joined forces with Doncaster Council to launch a recruitment campaign for foster carers.

The campaign, which is part of the national Foster Care Fortnight, aims to dispel “common myths” which can put potential foster carers off.

Chris Pratt, director of Children and Young People’s Services at Doncaster Council, said: “We very often find that there seems to be a pre-conceived notion of who can and can’t foster.

“Things such as being married – or even being in a relationship – or owning your own house are not actually pre-requisites when it comes to fostering.

“Single people, same-sex couples and people from different ethnic backgrounds are just some of the groups being encouraged to consider foster caring as part of this new initiative.”

The council’s campaign, called “In The Frame”, asks people to put themselves “in the frame” to foster by making an initial enquiry.

Chelsea Halfpenny, whose Emmerdale character Amy Wyatt is being fostered by a couple who had never considered fostering before, is supporting the campaign.

She said: “The storylines in Emmerdale do work hard to reflect real life and the fact is that teenagers are a particularly difficult group to find good foster carers for.

“It’s a shame as teenagers are often the group that most need that comfort and support from a strong family unit as they struggle to make the transition to independence and adulthood.

“I think you see from Amy’s story that not only did her foster parents have a positive impact on her life but she also did on theirs and I’m hoping this is the message I can get across.”

As part of the In the Frame campaign, Doncaster Council will be hosting a series of recruitment events across the borough.

A “shop” designed to look like a teenager’s bedroom will also be set up in the Frenchgate centre to act as an information point.

A council spokesman added: “Almost anyone can foster as long as you are over 21, have a spare room and the energy and enthusiasm to look after local children.

“People who decide to foster will receive 24-hour support and generous allowances.”