Page last updated at 12:00 GMT, Thursday, 25 June 2009 13:00 UK

Island faces foster care crisis

A shortage of Guernsey foster families has reached crisis point, with children facing being sent off the island if more carers are not found soon.

The States Health and Social Services department is desperately seeking more volunteers to come forward and offer themselves as foster carers.

It says volunteers play a "vital role" in helping local children in care.

People who are single, work full time or live in rented accommodation are all eligible to apply to become carers.

'Rewarding job'

There are up to 70 children on the fostering register locally and there is a day-to-day shortage of between 10 and 15 carers needed to look after them.

"Being a foster carer is one of the most rewarding jobs and we are encouraging people to come forward and use their skills and qualities to make a real difference to the lives of some of the Bailiwick's most vulnerable children," said Anita Harrild from the States department.

Carers are urgently needed who can offer short-term fostering, long-term fostering and emergency placements.

The age of children needing placements ranges from a few months old to teenagers who are ready to develop skills for independent living.

Anyone who is interested in learning more about becoming a foster carer should contact the Fostering and Adoption Team on 01481 713230.

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