LOCKDOWN has brought a surge in interest from people thinking of fostering across Dudley.

Orange Grove Fostercare, whose office in Bromsgrove organises support for families across Dudley borough and the Black Country, are reporting a 7% increase in enquiries between March and August.

And there has been a particular growth in younger people, with a 38% increase in those aged 25-34.

There had been concerns that Covid would reduce enquiries, but the opposite has happened.

They put it down to Covid’s impact on jobs, with many people worried about job security and looking at new careers.

Anyone who does switch will have to undergo rigorous evaluation.

The agency say: “Fostering is a way of life, it is not an immediate solution for those who are out of work, it requires training, dedication, compassion and most of all patience.”

It is a lengthy process, but the agency also it requires no prior experience, ‘allowing individuals to upskill and retrain in a new area that will be hugely beneficial to young people’s lives.’

“Choosing fostering as a potential career path can allow individuals to work in a field where they can help make life-changing impact on young people’s futures daily. “

The need for foster carers is growing. Recent figures showed 56,160 children in care and just 44,450 foster parents available.

Sue Purtill, Registered Manager at Orange Grove Fostercare, commented: “We’re thrilled to see a rise in the number of people applying.

“We know a lot of people are seeing financial difficulties as a result of the pandemic, especially with the increase of redundancies across the UK, so we’d like to remind people that fostering is a fully paid, professional role, and could be an ideal route for many to explore.“

Visit www.orangegrovefostercare.co.uk for more details