A SERVICE dedicated to helping vulnerable children is calling on Bromsgrove, Droitwich and Redditch people to help fill a foster homes shortage.

Worcestershire County Council's Fostering Service is has launched a new year with a high profile recruitment drive, in order to meet the increased demand for foster carers across the county.

The number of children and young people coming in to care continues to rise, and more foster families are needed in order to provide a suitable variety of placements.

More than 500 children and young people are currently being looked after by foster carers across Worcestershire. During 2014 Worcestershire's Fostering Service predicts it will need to recruit a further 30 fostering households to meet demand.

According to a recent statement, released by national charity Fostering Network, almost 63,000 children are currently living with over 52,500 foster families across the UK.

More foster families are needed not only to replace the 12 per cent who leave each year, but also so that children who come into foster care find carers who are right for them.

Potential foster carers are matched with their skills and qualities, which can be provided to the children who need them most.

Councillor Liz Eyre, cabinet member for children and families, said: "Foster carers in Worcestershire play a vital role in protecting, nurturing and developing our looked after children and we'd encourage everyone to consider whether they might have something to offer.

"The skills and experience required to foster are gained from bringing up your own children, working alongside children and young people or even just being a member of your local community.

"Lots of people; couples, singles, men and women from all walks of life, professionals and non-professionals from rural and urban settings, can and do successfully foster – but we always need more.

"In particular we would welcome people who could consider offering placements for teenagers or sibling groups, as it's often a struggle to place brothers and sisters together.

"The provision of a caring, loving home to support a child when they are at their most vulnerable can make a real difference to their future."

The recruitment drive includes drop-in events across the county, which provide individuals with the opportunity to talk to workers from the service as well as existing foster carers.

The drop-ins are informal, so people can just turn up and ask questions.

The first event is being held at Kidderminster Library this Saturday, January 18, from 10am until 12.30pm.

Future events are being held at The Hive in Worcester on March 8, and at Redditch Library on April 10.

For more details on fostering in Worcestershire visit isfostering4me.co.uk or facebook.com/fosteringworcestershire.