Manchester City Council

Drive to find new foster carers targets pet owners

Dog lovers who have their own pooch are being targeted by Manchester City Council in its latest drive to recruit foster carers for some of the city's most vulnerable children.

Foster carers provide a loving and supportive home for children and young people who for whatever reason and through no fault of their own can't live with their birth families.

The therapeutic power of pooches and other household pets is well documented and as pet lovers themselves already know, four legged friends can bring a lot of joy and love into a home.

It's because of this that the council wants to reach out to the city's pet owners to ask them to consider becoming a foster carer.

When children and young people come into care they are vulnerable, afraid, and unsure of what the future will bring.  They may have been neglected, feel scared, and be reluctant to develop new relationships with adults. 

Foster carers play a vital role in helping turn this around and making sure the young person feels loved, wanted and secure - and giving them a space in their home to grow, be happy, and be themselves.

Moving in with foster carers however isn't easy for young people, and at this difficult time of upheaval and change, having pets around - especially dogs - can help them cope better.

Animals can help children adapt to their new home, and helps them build relationships with their foster carers. 

Councillor Garry Bridges, Executive Member, Children's Services, Manchester City Council, said:  "All pet owners know how much joy their pets bring into their lives and we know from experience that pets, especially dogs, can also help children cope with the challenges of moving in with new foster carers.

"We therefore want to reach out to all pet owners to let them know that owning a pet doesn't prevent you from fostering.  In fact we would love to hear from you if you think you could also provide a loving home to a child or young person in need.

"Being a foster carer isn't always easy, but the rewards in terms of knowing how much you have helped change a young person's life are great. "

All new foster carers go through a formal assessment process that may also include the assessment of any pets in the household as part of this.

Any dogs in a household will have their own assessment in addition to that of the potential foster carer - to make sure the dog is friendly with a good temperament, is house-trained, and safe around children. 

To find out more about becoming a foster carer call 0800 988 8931 (9am to 4.30pm week days) or go to manchester.gov.uk/fostering

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