TEACHING professionals across Dorset are being urged to consider becoming a foster parent.

The Foster Care Associates (FCA) says there is a national shortage of foster families and is calling upon both former and present teaching professionals to consider caring for a child in need.

Stephen Hartung, registered manager at FCA South, said: “There are huge parallels between the motivation to teach and to foster, which probably explains why so many of our foster families have a background in education. Seeing young people make positive progress is the reward that carers and teachers share.”

He added: “Our carers come from a range of backgrounds and at different stages of life. From people whose children have left home and single people, to families with teenagers, there are all kinds of families and individuals who can begin the hugely rewarding journey into foster care.”

Helen Warren, who lives in Poole, has fostered 22 children on both long and short-term placements.

The former nanny, who has been a lunchtime supervisor and parent governor at her children's school, said she has never looked back since becoming a foster carer 15 years ago.

She said: "Our two sons were young at the time but we talked about it with them and for the first eight weeks we took respite placements to show them what it was like and ensure they were comfortable. Well, we got the fostering bug.

"As a family we’ve never looked back and I feel we foster as a team - I couldn’t do it without them."

She added: "There's such as overlap between the role I've taken in schools and being a foster carer. I've learned so much by being within a school environment and become more confident, and I think it's made me a better carer.”

The FCA says there are many factors that make up an ideal candidate – everything from being adaptable, resilient and nurturing to being a good listener and having a flexible response to a young person’s needs.

The organisation provides ongoing support and fees to all of its carers.

Anyone interested in finding out more about fostering is invited to attend one of FCA’s fostering information events.

To find out more about upcoming events in Dorset go to thefca.co.uk or call 0800 022 4012.