Wolverhampton has officially thanked dozens of long-serving 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 long service of 29 foster carers at a ceremony at the Ramada Park Hall Hotel.

Dawn Duggan, Melissa and Barry Evans, Christine and Ian Hickman, Mandy Parker, Pauline and Stephen Parker, Diane and David Purchase, Anthony and Ursula Wastall and Karen and Christopher Young were honoured for 10 years' service, while Sonia Greenaway, Dulcie and David Phoenix, Daphne and Barry Richards and Nora Williams-Riley and Paul Riley were commended for completing 15 years.

Awards for 20 years' service went to Patricia and Edward Whitehouse and Angela Doughty. Special awards were also given to retiring foster carers Maxine and Alan Arnold, who have given 10 years' service, Carol Terry who has fostered for 30 years and Mary and Kenneth Williamson, who retired after fostering for 31 years.

The awards were presented by the Mayor of Wolverhampton Councillor Barry Findlay and the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Children and Young People Councillor Val Gibson.

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 long service 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.