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Launch of ‘Childhood’ a short film to raise awareness of the need for foster carers

Siblings playing

Friday 14 October 2022

In a ground-breaking national collaboration, 56 Local Authorities across England have worked together to share ideas and jointly fund the creation of a short film to raise awareness of fostering. It is aimed at finding more people who may be interested in becoming foster carers and providing nurturing, positive homes for children and young people across the country who need them.

The new film, simply called ‘Childhood’, highlights the impact of neglect on children, particularly brothers and sisters who may be left at times to try and care for each other. It shows the journey of ‘Sophie’ and ‘Charlie’ who are in a very difficult home situation where their needs are not being met, to being nurtured and supported through foster care to attend school and be able to enjoy their hobbies and interests. In other words, have a childhood.

Essex County Council’s Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Barbara Canepa said: “Childhood should be a time of nurturing and feeling safe to play, learn, socialise and explore – a pivotal point which lays the foundation for the adult the child becomes. Playing and feeling secure enough to behave like a child is essential to the cognitive, physical, social and emotional wellbeing of young people. 

“Sadly, it’s quite common for many foster children to have missed out on large parts of their childhood through trauma and neglect, many have also played a parenting role to their younger siblings and parents”.

Barbara added: “Foster carers can help a child heal from their trauma by giving them a second chance at childhood. Our role is to give them the knowledge, support and tools to do so”.

‘Childhood’ will be officially launched with a premiere at the Everyman cinema, Birmingham on 13th October, with an introduction from Kevin Williams, the Chief Executive of The Fostering Network, and Rachel Brown, project manager working with Council Advertising Network.

Kevin Williams, chief executive of The Fostering Network, says: ‘We continue to value and support foster carers but we urgently need more foster carers to come forward to care for children within their local communities. Foster carers are the bedrock of children’s social care; they are vital in our society and our young people rely on their care, dedication, passion and skills to support them when they need it most.

‘Across the UK, around 9,265 more fostering families are needed, to make sure every child that can’t live with their own family gets the care they need.

‘Currently, there are over 70,000 children living with almost 56,000 foster families in the UK, and the number of children coming into care keeps rising. The reasons children become looked after vary widely. We need more people to come forward to foster, to stand by their side and to be there for them no matter what.’

Rachel Brown, who has been a foster carer recruiter for a number of years, led on the national project, said: “Sadly, there is an unmet need for foster carers in the country today and there is likely to be an increase in this need. The cost of living crisis and other struggles families across the UK are facing creates and escalates difficulties for many.”

“Having worked on previous projects we know that these beautifully crafted films have a real impact. With the support of CAN Digital, I am really proud that we will reach even further around the country, a third of all council fostering services in England. We’d like to thank every single person involved in what has been a great collaborative experience.”

“The aim is that this film will be shared on social media and other platforms, right across the country, reaching many more people and leading them to consider whether the rewarding role of fostering could be an option for them.”

The film will be available to watch and share from all participating local authority platforms from noon on 13th October 2022 to help the message spread across the UK using the hashtags #FosterForYourCouncil and #Childhood