The High Sheriff of Hampshire has inaugurated Step by Step Fostering, a new initiative addressing the urgent need for more foster families.

The agency was established by the Step by Step Partnership, which has over 30 years’ experience supporting young people in the South Central region.

Right now, there are 70,000 children living with nearly 55,000 foster families in the UK, with an additional 7,200 families required within the year. Hampshire requires 1,500 more foster carers.

Amelia Riviere, High Sheriff of Hampshire, said: "It’s an honour to be part of the launch of this fantastic new initiative. Children and young people need stable, caring homes if they are to thrive, and it was inspiring to hear about Step by Step Fostering’s plans to make a difference to many more young lives."

Sarah Luke, Manager at Step by Step Fostering, explained: "More and more young people come into care each year and it’s imperative that there are enough suitable, caring homes to meet this demand. We want to find homes and empower our foster carers with industry-leading training and support. We believe in wholly supporting both the young people and the families that open their homes up to them."