Southampton announces collaboration with South-East Fostering Regional Hub

20 local authorities work together to attract more foster carers in the region

Foster family

Southampton City Council and councils from across the South-East have come together to create the country’s largest local authority fostering partnership, in a bid to increase the number of foster carers across the region.

Launching today (8 July), the Local Authority Fostering South-East is a new virtual fostering hub. It brings together the expertise of 20 councils from across the region. The new hub will ensure prospective foster carers have access to a centralised platform for their initial enquiries about fostering and will see local authorities work collaboratively to provide the best support, right from the start of a carer’s fostering journey.

The new regional hub will be running marketing campaigns to raise awareness of this unique role and encourage more people to take the next step and become a foster carer with their local council. In doing so they will benefit from comprehensive local training, generous financial assistance, and ongoing support from a non-profit organisation.

With over 11,000 children in care across the South-East, and fewer than 3,000 local authority approved foster carers, there is an urgent need to recruit more people to provide safe, loving, and local homes for vulnerable children. Prospective foster carers will also benefit from a new fostering ambassador scheme, enabling them to speak to an existing carer to find out what this life-changing role is really like.

Natasha Sampson, South-East regional strategic lead, said: "This is a really exciting time for fostering. For the first time in the South-East, we are leveraging the collective skills, knowledge, resources and support of 20 local authorities to ensure children and young people have a stable home, in a loving family, which they all deserve.

"The new hub will make this possible by increasing the number of local foster carers and making sure they are well supported through their recruitment journey and beyond.

"I would urge anyone interested in fostering to get in touch with us to find out more about becoming a foster carer with your local authority."

Cllr Alex Winning, Cabinet Member for Children and Learning said: "We need more foster carers to support vulnerable children, young people and families through challenging times. It’s why Southampton supports campaigns such as The Fostering Network’s Foster Care Fortnight, why we work with local partners such as the Saints Foundation and John Lewis, and why our fostering team are out and about at events around the city.

"Being part of the Local Authority Fostering South-East regional hub means we can collectively generate even more interest fostering. Working together we can combine our experience and knowledge to not only attract more foster carers but also to provide our carers with greater support. What’s great is that even if an enquiry comes into the regional hub, our local fostering team will continue to guide people through the process to becoming a foster carer in Southampton."

More information on becoming a foster carer can be found on the new regional website and by following 'Local Authority Fostering South-East' on Facebook, Instagram and X (formerly Twitter). 

Those interested in fostering can also contact the regional hub directly to speak to a member of the recruitment team by calling 0300 131 2797.