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Haverhill couple step forward to offer their help after an appeal by Little Acorns Fostering for more foster parents

A Haverhill couple are among the first to respond to an appeal launched earlier this year after it was revealed there was a significant shortage of foster parents in the East of England.

Gemma and Michael Curtis, have registered with the Little Acorns Fostering agency, in Great Wratting, after hearing of the appeal and their application is now being considered.

“I know a few foster parents already who have told me how rewarding they find it helping vulnerable children in need of a loving and supportive family environment. “When I heard about the appeal I discussed it with my husband and we decided it is something we would really like to do.

Gemma and Michael Curtis
Gemma and Michael Curtis

“We do not have children of our own and we have a three bedroom home so we feel we are in a good position to make a positive change to a child’s life,” said Mrs Curtis.

Since the appeal was launched seven new families, including Mr and Mrs Curtis, have registered with the agency.

Mrs Curtis, 33, said: “In the past we have had exchange students stay with us.

“I am also a nanny/carer so I have experience of helping children with their needs and we have now decided this is something we would like to do on a permanent basis.

“Both my husband and I are really keen to provide children with a loving and caring home.

“Some of the children in care have been through a really awful time and we would like to help make a positive to change in their lives by showing them love, encouragement and support.

“Even just the little things like taking the children to the zoo or out for a meal could help make their lives so much happier.

“Little Acorns have been so supportive and encouraging throughout our application.

“We have gone through the initial application process and the final decision will be made by a panel in January. “If we are approved as being foster parents we could possibly be taking in our first children as soon as February.

“I find it heart-breaking to think there is children in care who may be feeling lonely and unloved and I encourage anyone who is in a position to do so to give some thought into becoming a foster parent.”

Little Acorns recruits, trains and supports foster parents and works closely with local authorities and social services in south Cambridgeshire, west Suffolk and north Essex to ensure children are placed with the most appropriate family to meet their individual needs.

Cheryl Jillions, Registered Manager at Little Acorns, said: “We are delighted by the response to the appeal and we applaud people like Mr and Mrs Curtis for stepping forward and we are hopeful they will soon be able to provide vulnerable children with the stable home they need.

“Although we have had a good response so far we still need more people to come forward to help us meet the demand for more foster parents.

“Without more foster families coming forward some children may find themselves living a long way from their home towns, schools and friends and being split up from their brothers or sisters, which could have a detrimental effect on their behaviour.

“Restrictions on becoming a foster parent are few but you must have a spare bedroom.

“Foster parents are very special people who provide a remarkable service.

“To provide a loving and caring home to vulnerable children and to help put them on the right path in life is simply an amazing thing to do.”

The Ofsted “Outstanding” rated agency, launched its appeal in July after figures by the Fostering Network showed an additional 610 foster families were needed in the East of England in 2017.

According to statistics from the Department of Education, 115 more children in Cambridgeshire and Suffolk came into care during 2017 than left.

For more information on Little Acorns Fostering go to www.littleacornsfostering.co.uk. Alternatively you can telephone on 01440 732010 or email enquiries@littleacornsfostering.co.uk

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