Nearly 50 children have been given the gift of a safe and loving home as they have been fostered just in time for Christmas.

ISP Fostering, which has its headquarters in Albourne, near Hassocks, and works across Sussex, is celebrating after 47 young people were matched up with and went home to foster families this month.

Sheryl Laker, a former foster parent and now referrals manager at ISP, said: “I’m so proud of the team for their hard work in finding the right homes for these children. That is 47 children who are comfortable and confident in the fact that on Christmas Eve, Santa knows where they are, that’s what we do it for.

“At ISP, we take the time to match children with the right foster family and provide them with a high level of specialist therapeutic support that is tailored to their individual needs.”

The Argus: Sheryl LakerSheryl Laker (Image: ISP Fostering)

Emma and Ufuk are foster parents who were matched with a little boy last December. They have been fostering with ISP since October 2022 but started fostering back in 2014.

Emma said: “Our foster child joined us on December 19, so we have always called him our early Christmas present.

"He loved to go around saying to people ‘I’m the early Christmas present’ and I truly think he is as it is really a gift to foster. You’re giving a young person a chance to do what they’re supposed to do and be who they’re supposed to be.

“They’re a gift and you’ve been given the honour of looking after a gift, it doesn’t always feel like that every day but you have. These children deserve a home and they deserve a safe space. That’s what our family and our home is, it’s a safe space.”

The Argus: Emma and Ufuk fostered a child last DecemberEmma and Ufuk fostered a child last December (Image: ISP Fostering)

There are currently more than 80,000 children in care throughout the year, and that number is growing.

It is estimated that an additional 3,000 foster parents will need to be recruited year on year, for the next three years to accommodate the influx of children coming into care.