Watch the video on the left and read the case studies below to find out how our carers make a difference to young peoples' lives.
There's not one typical type of carer - carers come from varied backgrounds, with different lifestyles and care for children of varied ages with a range of needs. What all our carers do share, though, is a commitment to providing a safe and loving environment for children to grow and develop.
I was a befriender for four years and I'm now a full-time foster carer. Over the past seven years I've fostered 12 children and I'm currently the carer of two boys, aged 13 and 15. I don't provide the traditional family environment but this is still a home and together we act as a family.
Before fostering, I ran my own marketing company. I used to get a big buzz out of going to London, making a pitch and winning new business. But watching one of the boys playing football and beating the other team 9-0 is a much bigger buzz because it's something that’s real.
A lot of kids don't have men in their lives and I think male carers can offer contact with a guy who can act as a positive role model. It's about going along to watch them play football and making sure they do their homework and, if you give kids boundaries, you'll see them do so well and that is tremendously satisfying.
Myself and my wife Anne are joint carers and have looked after children for around seven years. Our own children are grown up and have left home. We look after three autistic boys aged 16, 15 and 11. We care for two through regular respite and the other lives permanently with us.
I was a school bus driver and made a connection with an autistic boy whose mother enquired about me befriending him through the Council. I started as a befriender, then share the carer and then I moved onto specialist disability foster care.
None of the boys we care for speak and two have epilepsy too so it's certainly a challenge. The worst thing is not knowing what's wrong when they're upset they could be physically sore or something out of routine could have unsettled them, but it's the small things that make it worthwhile a smile or a look let you know you're getting through to them and making a difference. And they encourage us to learn as a family too. We're learning signalong just now to help us communicate with the boys and even the grandchildren are joining in. Every minute of every day is special with a child with disabilities. It's not easy, but it's worth it.
Diane (not her real name) became a New Opportunities foster carer when she gave up her job as a residential care worker. She had been doing the respite care on an ad hoc basis prior to this.
She wanted a better work life balance for herself and calculated that financially she would be just as well off giving up her job and becoming a New Opportunities foster carer. Carers for young people in the New Opportunities scheme are more challenging and require a lot of time and effort. This is reflected in the fees.
She is currently caring for a 17 year old girl who has some learning difficulties. She has used her transferable skills from her previous job to support the young person and they work very well together.
Dana (not her real name) came into care at 14 years old. She had been living with her mother and brother. Unfortunately her mother was not capable of looking after her as she had health and mental health problems.
Dana fell in with the wrong crowd and ended up neglected and at risk. Many people would have written her off, not given her a chance, as she was at times angry, verbally abusive and defiant.
She came to the attention of social workers in the Children and Families department following concerns from school and her friends. She was placed in secure accommodation. Within nine months she had turned her life around. She recognised that she needed help and was asking for a family to care for her.
The New Opportunities team found her a placement with a busy family where she fitted right in. Now aged 16 she said: "For the first time I feel as if I'm worthy. People give me time. I'm one of them."
With a lot of hard work Dana finished school and is now attending college. She is a great example of a neglected young person who, with the right care and attention, has turned her life around.