A TEN-month campaign to recruit more foster parents is enjoying success but more people are needed.

The Help Us Raise 100 Smiles campaign was launched last September by North Yorkshire County Council to find 100 extra families willing to take children into their homes for short-term stays.

Officials say it has led to some inquiries and an encouraging number of people have been recruited.

But group manager for the child placement unit, John Heron, said yesterday: "We are still desperately in need of more."

Among the issues making it hard to recruit are the high number of people in full-time employment, the rising cost of housing and the shortage of spare accommodation in family homes.

"We are looking for all sorts of foster carers. They don't have to be married or be in employment or own their own home," said Mr Heron.

"They do need the space in their home for a young person and they must like children, but just about anybody can apply to foster and an allowance is paid to cover the costs of providing a home to a child."

Caroline Patmore, the county's executive member for children's social services, said it was often the most vulnerable children who needed care from a secure and caring foster family or a single carer.

"Fostering, as often as not, is about looking after a child because a parent has gone into hospital. But also our foster carers, if they feel they are able, sometimes offer a place in a safe and loving home for children who have been abused or have problems relating to health or education and provide an extremely valuable service," she said.

For more information about fostering, contact the North Yorkshire team on (0800) 3892362.