SAME sex couples are to be encouraged to foster kiddies as St Helens Council bids to recruit at least 70 new carers in 2013.

The town’s fostering service is urging Star readers to: “Do something amazing in 2013 – foster a St Helens child!”

It’s a time of year when people traditionally commit to new personal goals and projects and the team is urging people to consider making a lasting difference to their community by fostering a local child.

They say that fostering is a way to make a real and positive difference to a child’s life.

It provides children and young people with a stable and loving home and the support and encouragement they need to flourish and thrive.

Fostering is also a rewarding, professional role with generous allowances being paid and with many opportunities to undertake training and learn new skills.

Children and young people come into foster care for many different reasons.

It could be a temporary solution while a family crisis is resolved, or parents may be struggling to cope and have difficulties of their own to overcome. Some children may have experienced abuse, neglect or domestic violence.

There are various different types of fostering, from caring for a child on an emergency basis, to looking after a child until adulthood.

A number of opportunities exist to provide care for disabled children, from looking after a child on a respite basis, one weekend a month, or more long-term care. And the council’s ambitious plan is to recruit 70 new carers this year.

Applications are sought from people from a diverse range of backgrounds with all applications being assessed on their own merits.

You could be in full time work, part time, retired or not in employment; be single, in a relationship or divorced. You might be heterosexual or in a same sex relationship.

The fostering service offers flexible training and support packages, which aim to encourage a diverse range of applicants. By breaking down traditional barriers to fostering, the council says they are keen to recruit those with the desire to care – whatever their situation.

A new website, with an improved enquiry function, has also been launched; ensuring that prospective carers are able to make initial enquiries much more easily.

Councillor Alison Bacon, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services said: “By approaching fostering with a ‘can-do’ attitude, we’re aiming to show people that fostering is accessible to all, and can fit into normal, busy lives.

“We want to let them know that we are able to provide support, including nursery places; help with transporting children to school, and flexible meeting times, for example, which can all help to make families realise their fostering ambitions.”

She added that the council are encouraging people in St Helens to give something back to their community, and provide a caring, stable home for a local child in need.

If you are interested in fostering and would like to find out more, contact the fostering team for an informal chat: Call: 01744 676789 Email: Website: