Fostering is the power to change a life - says Blackpool foster carer Diane

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A Blackpool foster carer is urging other people to take up the role of transforming young people’s lives by offering them a loving home.

Diane Smith, who has been fostering with Blackpool Council for 19 years, is currently looking after two siblings, as well as a 12-year-old and a 17-year-old.

The council is taking part in Foster Care Fortnight, a national awareness campaign, which runs from May 15 to 28.

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Diane said: “I like to look after older ones and teenagers as I think they need your help more so it’s very challenging but rewarding.

More foster carers are neededMore foster carers are needed
More foster carers are needed

“When they achieve something – that’s what makes it all worthwhile like when one young lad came to me and said, ‘I’ve been to a mechanic, and he is going to take me on.’

“You can sit back and say that you’ve guided that young person to do what they’ve wanted to do.

“I like to take on a challenge and help them grow, teaching them skills that they wouldn’t have and develop their problem-solving skills.”

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Diane added: “As long as you have got commitment, kindness, openness and can always be there for them then go for it.

“Do all the training that you can and think about the adaptability of different cultures and different backgrounds.

“I do a lot reading and studying and put all this into practice. A lot of it is how you speak to the child as words have the power to change a life.”

Victoria Gent, director of children’s services at Blackpool Council, said: “Foster Care Fortnight provides an ideal opportunity to recognise the dedication of our foster carers.

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“We would like to thank Diane and every other member of our fostering community for offering love, security and understanding to the children in their care.”

The theme of this year’s campaign is ‘fostering communities’ and is designed to shine a light on the many ways people across the fostering community support each other.

The Fostering Network estimates 8,000 new foster carers are needed in the UK this year including in Blackpool.

I’m single, can I still foster?

You can foster if you’re single, living together, divorced or separated, married, in a stable relationship or part of the LGBTQ+ community. What you will need is a committed support network

Can I foster if I don’t own my home?

As long as you’re financially secure, it doesn’t matter if you own or rent your home. If you’re renting, you will need to ask the landlord for permission before you foster.

I have a disability or health condition, can I foster?

Yes, as long as your disability or medical condition is stable and does not affect your ability to care for a child. You must not put your own health at risk

I don’t have children of my home – can I foster?

We welcome applications from single people and couples who do not have children, as well as those who do. You must, however, have had some experience of caring for or working with children.

Can I work and foster?

Yes, of course you can. We would work with you on the type of fostering you can offer and ensure careful matching with the right child.

People interested in becoming a foster carer must have a spare bedroom and be at least 21 years of age. Applications are also welcome from those whose children have since left home and people in retirement.

Blackpool Council foster carers benefit from a comprehensive package of support including ongoing training, enhanced generous allowances, regular support groups, peer mentors for new carers, fostering forum meetings, an out of hours support and advice line, and a dedicated supervising social worker.

To find out more about fostering, visit or call 01253 420222