GWENT’S five local authorities have launched a new fostering campaign in response to an “urgent need” for homes for local children.

The #20Reasons campaign uses real foster carers’ experiences to inspire more families to consider looking after a child or young person.

The Fostering Network charity estimates 550 foster families will be needed in Wales this year to keep up with demand.

All types of foster carers are needed, but particularly those who would consider fostering teenagers, therapeutic carers, respite carers, emergency carers, sibling groups and children with additional needs.

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Torfaen, Newport, Monmouthshire, Blaenau Gwent, and Caerphilly county councils are all taking part in the campaign.

Tammy Hale, a foster carer from Torfaen for almost seven years, is supporting the campaign.

After years of trying to start a family of their own, Ms Hale and her partner took a different approach through fostering.

“I realised that there are so many children that need a loving home and that I had so much love that I wanted to give to a child so it just made sense that this is how we could build our family,” she said.

“I have a really close bond with all of the children that I’ve fostered.

“One of our foster children is now 17 and doesn’t live with us anymore but still comes over for a Sunday dinner every week.

“Our current long-term foster children even call us mum and dad, and there’s no better feeling than that really.”

The councils’ joint campaign listed 20 reasons to become a foster carer this year. They are:

1 You can help a child who’s had a difficult past.

2 You’ll help build positive futures.

3 You can help a child reach their full potential.

4 Fostering is amazing and rewarding.

5 Meet other caring people - just like you.

6 You can make a difference locally.

7 Choose which type of fostering is right for you.

8 Help keep a child in their school.

9 Develop new skills and gain qualifications.

10 You’ll make a difference that lasts a lifetime.

11 It’s a different way to grow your family.

12 Become part of our fostering community.

13 You’ll be a positive role model.

14 Kindness feels good.

15 Local children and young people urgently need a home.

16 You’ll help build a child’s confidence.

17 You can change career.

18 You’ll give a child a chance in life.

19 Fostering gives you new perspectives.

20 You’ll give a child a sense of belonging.