A COUNCIL is calling on employers to come forward and implement changes to help support its work to recruit and retain foster carers in Cumbria.

Cumbria County Council says the changes are simple and will have a significant impact on the children in Cumbria who require foster care.

The scheme asks companies to:

n Recognise the needs of foster carers in employment policies

n help celebrate fostering and foster carers.

The authority was recently boosted by the news that property management company BEC had its Fostering Friendly Employer scheme during Foster Care Fortnight, which started on May 11.

BEC, based in Cleator Moor, joins 17 other Cumbrian businesses which have joined the initiative since its launch in February 2015.

BEC chief executive officer, Michael Pemberton said: “As a company, BEC are committed to providing our employees with the right environment for a good work life balance.

"Understanding the need for our employees to have flexibility to allow for career development whilst managing the demands of family life.”

BEC employee, Rachael Doran, and her husband Karl, are long term foster carers for a brother and sister aged 12 and 10.

Rachael said: “We applied to foster in April 2018 and were approved by November. We decided on a long term placement because I know in my heart of hearts that I would struggle with short term and saying goodbye to the children when they move on.

"We already had three really lovely, sensitive lads and we decided, all of us together, that whoever came to us would be their siblings and a part of our family, treated just like the boys.

Anne Burns, cabinet member for children’s services, said: "I think it sets a great example to other local employers and I hope more will follow their lead."

For more information on fostering visit cumbria.gov.uk/fostering or call 0303 333 1216.