Foster parents give youngsters caring support

HAPPY FAMILY -- Gina and Alistair Morton with 18-year-old Lauren.
HAPPY FAMILY -- Gina and Alistair Morton with 18-year-old Lauren.

A CARING couple from Hucknall are backing a campaign to recruit more foster carers — after devoting the last 17 years to making a difference to the lives of children in need of a stable home.

Gina and Alistair Morton began fostering in 1995 and have cared for more than 15 youngsters during that time.

Eighteen-year-old Lauren has been living with the Mortons since the age of 13 and has flourished under their care. She is currently looking to go to university.

Now the couple have joined a campaign by Notts County Council to find more foster carers and adoptive parents, as the number of children in care hits a record high.

In Nottinghamshire, adoptive parents are needed for 51 children, while vacancies exits for 50 foster families. Twenty-five of these are for children over the age of ten who are often harder to place.

Gina (52) and Alistair (61) have specialised in caring for teenagers throughout their fostering lives.

Gina said: “I’d been thinking about fostering for some time and knew a friend who was a foster carer. Alistair and I both have children from previous relationships and we decided to pursue fostering and help young people who couldn’t live with their own families.

“We would recommend anyone who thinks they could be a foster carer to give it a go.

“There’s a lot of help and support available from the county council. There are many young people out there who need help and guidance and need to feel loved and wanted.”

The Mortons say they have had plenty of rewarding moments throughout their time as foster parents and have always made their placements feel part of the family.

Their impact on Lauren’s life is clear, as the teenager explained. “Living with Gina and Alistair has helped me pursue my dreams,” Lauren said.

“I’ve applied to do a media course at university and I don’t think I would have been able to do this without their support.”

As well as foster parents, the county council is also appealing for new adoptive parents.

The county council offers potential foster carers and adoptive families a range of support, allowances and training.

To register an interest, call 0845 3018899 (for fostering) or 0845 3012288 (for adoption) or visit www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/adoptionandfostering.