A COUPLE who have recently become permanent foster parents are encouraging others to consider fostering one of dozens of children in County Durham waiting for a loving home.

Durham County Council is currently trying to find foster homes for 45 children and runs regular drop-in sessions for anyone interested in becoming a foster carer.

The next events take place on Wednesday January 23, between 11am and 1pm at Durham Town Hall and Saturday, January 26, between 10am and 1.30pm, at County Hall, Durham.

Peter and Josie Price started fostering in 2017.

They both previously worked in special education, where seeing social workers’ commitment to caring for children who were looked after, prompted their initial interest in fostering. The pair decided to make the switch to their new career in late 2017, when their own children flew the nest leaving the couple with spare bedrooms.

Mr Price said: “Fostering is a totally unique experience in itself and it’s a life-changing and rewarding career. The most rewarding aspect has been watching the kids thrive. Seeing positive changes in their confidence, emotional state, self-worth and their behaviour. Knowing that we have made a positive difference in their lives, that is a massive reward.

“We really enjoy being able to offer children stability, that’s why we want to share our home permanently to give our foster son a forever family. We’re also going to offer two other children a permanent home this year, which is very exciting.

“We’re still registered as emergency carers too, so during December we fostered other children as well, keeping them safe and secure, trying to offer them as normal a Christmas as possible until a long-term placement was found for them. It’s been a busy time, and it’s hard work, but it’s fantastic seeing the difference we can make, we love it.”

Helen Fergusson, Durham County Council’s head of children’s social care, said: “A lot of people don’t realise that they already have a lot of skills which fit perfectly with fostering. Like Peter and Josie, many of our carers find that skills such as team working, patience, resilience, and compassion, gained from previous life and work experience, cross over into their fostering roles.

“We need foster carers of all backgrounds and we’re particularly keen to speak to people who, like the Prices, feel they can offer a child a permanent home until they are ready to move on into adulthood. Regardless of age, marital status, sexuality, whether they have a family, work or are unemployed, anyone can be considered as a potential foster carer as long as you have the patience and space to offer a young person a loving, stable home.”

The council’s fostering team holds regular drop-in information events for people who are thinking about fostering. The sessions provide an introduction to the fostering process, offer an opportunity to meet current foster carers, and receive expert advice.

You can also call the council's fostering team on 03000-269400 or visit durham.gov.uk/fostering to find out more.