A dozen local authorities in the North East have begun to use a website specially designed to support fostering children in the region.
The 'Foster with North East' site went live at the end of September as part of a collaboration between the councils and Together for Children Sunderland, an arm’s length organisation connected with Sunderland City Council.
The site has been built on the GOSS Digital Platform with the GOSS Dynamic theme used to provide a user-friendly design.
Its primary feature is an enquiry form, enabling prospective carers to express interest in fostering and support their engagement with the Foster with North East team.
It also provides comprehensive information to potential foster carers about the relevant requirements and processes, tools for search and booking places at pop-up fostering events, and a range of back end data analysis tools for each of the local authorities.
Caroline West, project manager at Sunderland City Council, said: "Foster with North East has been launched to address misconceptions around fostering and provide crucial support to prospective carers when they need it most.
“With this new drive the close-knit North East region is coming together to ensure every child gets the love and care they deserve. For the first time, anyone considering fostering in the North East will benefit from a united support hub for prospective foster carers, with help available every step of the way."
The Foster with North East team is now looking at further features, including some to improve the experience for social workers and to refine the reporting capabilities.
West added: "Being the first region in the UK to implement a regional fostering hub approach, we are continually learning and adapting all the time and GOSS have worked with us to be flexible and responsive to our changing needs during the development and build process.”