As the annual Foster Care Fortnight begins to raise awareness of the value of fostering begins, figures from the Department for Education show there were 232 fostered children in South Tyneside at the end of March last year – up from 228 the year before.
Separate figures from Ofsted, which cover placements organised by local authority, show around 145 households offered to foster – including around 40 which were newly-approved.
The Fostering Network organises Foster Care Fortnight to highlight the work of the UK’s foster carers and raising the profile of fostering.
Nationally, around 6,070 households were approved by local authorities to foster in the year to March 2021 – but the Fostering Network estimates that close to 8,000 more families are needed – including 584 in the North East.
Chief executive, Kevin Williams, says people should not be dissuaded from fostering by thinking they aren't the right fit for it.
He said: "If you have ever considered fostering, now is the time to get in touch with your local fostering service and find out more.
"The fostering community is open to people from all walks of life and backgrounds. People can become a foster carer no matter of age, gender, relationship status or sexual orientation.
"Foster carers are the bedrock of children’s social care. They are vital in our society and our young people rely on their care, dedication, passion and skills to support them when they need it most."