Councils are banding together to support the 7,000 vulnerable children and young people in the East of England requiring care.

Essex County Council will be joining forces with 10 other authorities under the new 'Foster East' banner to recruit more foster families.

In Essex alone, more than 770 children and young people from new born to 18 years of age are in need of loving, nurturing homes.

Funded by the Department of Education, Foster East aims to offer comprehensive assistance and best practices to prospective foster carers.

Advisors will also be available every day from 8am to 8pm to guide people on the fostering process.

Independent fostering agencies are also being encouraged to transition their foster carers to Foster East, for training and a new support network.

Helen Lincoln, executive director of Children, Families and Education at Essex County Council, said: "Coming into care is an extremely distressing time for any child.

"If we can provide more loving foster families in their local area, we can minimise the disruption to their lives and ensure they can still attend their school, see their friends and family and participate in their usual activities.

"All while having the support they need to thrive in a safe home environment."

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