Wolverhampton has officially thanked dozens of dedicated foster carers for the vital work they do looking after vulnerable children and young people in the city.

The City of Wolverhampton Council's Fostering for Wolverhampton team recognised the service of 46 foster carers at the ‘For the Love of Fostering’ awards evening at the Ramada Park Hall Hotel on 7 December 2017.

Leigh Beech, Sue and Bill Collett, Faye and Michael Downes, Stacey and Ken Jordan, Greer O’Connor, Denise and Stephen Sharp, Shaun and Deborah Webb received awards for 10 years' service, while Linda Bristow, Gloria Corke, Michael and Dorothy Humphries and Mildred Williams were commended for completing 15 years.

Awards for 20 years' service were presented to Sandra and Graham Cox, while Taru and Parveen Bal, Cheryl Jackson, Kathleen Smith and Linda and Graham Walker received awards for 25 years’ service. Susan Carless and Heather and Geoffrey Fox were commended for 30 years’ service and Rita Dickenson who retired after fostering for over 30 years.

This year’s awards event also included six new special awards. The first, New Foster Carers award was won by Kenta and Mike Haran and highly commended in this category were Mark Tidmarsh, Monica Evans, Natasha McIntosh, Rena Patel, Steve and Laura Bayliss and Dee and Karl Welsh.

The second category, the Permanency Carers Award was won by Emma and Stephen Goodwin and highly commended were Ursula and Anthony Wastall, Kathleen and Roy Shayler and Christine Jones.

The third category, the Kinship Carers Award was won by Dawn James and highly commended were Doreen and Steven Platt, Yvonne and Robert Webb and Paula and Ronald Tranter.

The fourth category, the Teenage Foster Carer Award was won by Enza Sprio and highly commended were Elizabeth and Trevor Jones, Kathleen Smith, Yvonne Taylor and Rita Dickenson.

The fifth category, Outstanding Commitment to Fostering Children with Disabilities Award was won by Gill and Andy Small and highly commended were Gemma and James Wright and Lesley and Kevin Clarke.

The final award, Outstanding Contribution to Fostering was won by Emma-Jane Kisby and highly commended were Brian Fraser and Tracy Kenny, Yvonne Taylor, Karen and Christopher Young and Brian and Mandy Saunders.

The evening was opened by Deputy Mayor of Wolverhampton Councillor Phil Page and awards were presented by the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Children and Families Councillor Val Gibson and Emma Bennett, Director of Children’s Services.

Councillor Gibson said: "We are very lucky to have so many fantastic foster carers in Wolverhampton who combine a desire to help children with a commitment to providing the best possible care and support for them.

“I was delighted to be able to present awards to these very special people and to have the opportunity to personally thank them for their efforts on behalf of our city's children and young people.

"I would urge anyone who has considered fostering to speak to our Fostering for Wolverhampton team to find out more about this life-changing role.”

Foster carers can be sole carers, married or in a relationship. Placements can be anything from a few days to a number of years, and they receive a regular, tax exempt allowance to cover the cost of bringing up the child.

Help and support is available from the Fostering for Wolverhampton team 24 hours a day, while first-time foster carers also receive six months' "buddy support" from experienced carers who are there to guide them through the system.