HAMPSHIRE County Council is inviting anyone interested in fostering to sit down with the experts to find out what it is really like.

Throughout September and October experienced foster carers will be hosting virtual question and answer sessions.

They will run every Wednesday, each answering a different question.

Councillor Patricia Stallard, the county council’s executive lead member for children’s services young people, said: “Right now there are more than 1,600 children in care in Hampshire. Finding homes for these youngsters has been especially challenging during the pandemic.

"So, I would encourage anyone thinking of opening their home to a child to put these session dates in their diary. It is a chance to find out how you could make a huge difference to a child’s life.”

The purpose of these online events is to answer many common questions and dispel some of the misconceptions people have about who can foster children.

For example, 6 per cent of people think they can't foster if they are single. But the truth is, they can.

The main requirements for foster care are being over 21 and having a spare bedroom.

Cllr Stallard added: “I am delighted that some of our experienced foster carers have offered to take part in these virtual events, as there is nothing quite like talking to someone who truly knows what to expect. These conversations are a vital part of the fostering journey so it is fantastic we can offer this online while lockdown continues to restrict our normal outreach activities.

"Everyone is welcome to attend, whether you are new to the idea of fostering or have already begun looking into it. These online drop-in events are simply informal get togethers where each person can speak freely and there is no obligation to leave your details afterwards."

Each event starts at 6.45pm and they are:

• Fostering as a Single Carer

• The difference between Long-term and Short-term Fostering

• Working full-time and looking to Foster

• What is Parent and Child Fostering

• Fostering as a Family - How may it affect my Children?

• Fostering Sibling Groups

• Under 35 and looking to Foster?