The number of islanders seeking to foster or adopt a child has doubled in the last year, following a heartfelt campaign led by young islander who spent 14 years in foster care.
Latest figures show that 16 islanders contacted Fostering and Adoption Jersey as a result of the campaign - double the number from previous years - with ten of those expressing an interest in fostering and six enquiring about adoption.
The news come following significant difficulties in recruiting people to become foster carers or to adopt local children, which led the Government to start planning a paid full-time fostering scheme to combat off-island care for the "more challenging children and young people."
Video: Jake Le Caudey featured in a two-week campaign about foster care.
The Government has attributed the recent increase to a campaign which featured Jake Le Caudey, a young islander who spent his childhood in foster care.
From the age of seven, Jake lived with foster carers Pauline and Phil Graham, whom he describes as “heroes".
Earlier this year, he nominated Phil for a Fostering Award, saying he was "the best man I know and the man I will always look up to", “saved” him as a vulnerable seven-year-old, and changed his life through 14 years of “trust, love and support”
Jake's heart-warming story was shared across the social media platforms with the message “be the change you want to see”.
Pictured: 16 islanders contacted Fostering and Adoption Jersey as a result of the campaign.
Figures from the two-week campaign show that Jake’s story had a total reach of 141,456 on the Government of Jersey social media pages and an engagement rate of more than 10,000.
Jake, who is now a youth worker, said he was "absolutely thrilled" with the outcome of the campaign. "In the campaign videos, I said that if just one person came forward and changed the life of one child then it is worth doing," he explained.
"So, to see that 16 enquiries have been made is just amazing. That is 16 children who could potentially have their futures changed forever.”
Pictured: Jake said Phil and Pauline saved his sister and himself.
Describing his own experience of being in foster care and his foster parents, Jake said: “When I was a boy I was scared of the world and most people in it but Phil Graham was one of the few people that made me feel safe. He helped me learn what is right and what is wrong, and I look up to him not only because, from my point of view, he quite literally saved my sister and I, but also for all the other children he and Pauline took in and helped over the years.
“Their dedication and selflessness to helping others has had a huge positive impact on the lives of so many children who needed a place to stay where they would feel safe and supported when they needed it most. And Pauline and Phil provided this, without fail, for myself, my sister and so many more. Their home was and always will be a sanctuary.”
Pictured: Senator Sam Mézec, the Children's Minister, said it was phenomenal that figures had doubled.
The Children’s Minister, Senator Sam Mézec, thanked Jake for sharing his positive experience of foster care and his foster parents.
“The figures have doubled this year which is phenomenal," he added. "I would like to thank all those islanders who have contacted the Fostering and Adoption team to enquire about either fostering or adopting a child and wish you well on your journey and training.
“Thank you to each and every one of you who are prepared to open up your hearts and homes to children and offering many of them the experience of a stable, secure and caring home.”
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