A fostering charity has launched an urgent appeal to find families to give homes to young people.

The Fostering Network says 610 foster families need to be found in the East of England in the coming year.

The charity says there is a particular need for families who can foster teenagers and groups of brothers and sisters in the East of England.

Vicky, 44, and her husband, Greg, 49, are foster carers for Essex County Council.

She said: "We absolutely love our job and are very proud to tell anyone we are foster carers.

"We both believe in giving something back to a child or young person who has not had the best start in life.

"We strongly believe in all children and love seeing them grow from a little wilting bud to a strong, beautiful, blossoming flower by believing in themselves.

"We would say to anyone who is thinking about fostering to 'Go for it.'

"Yes, fostering can be challenging, but you won’t regret it as it is the most rewarding job."

The charity says that without foster families in the East of England coming forward during 2018, some children will find themselves living a long way from their family and split up from brothers and sisters.

Chief executive of The Fostering Network Kevin Williams said: "Foster carers do something amazing on behalf of our society.

"Opening their hearts and homes to fostered children, often offering them their first experience of a stable, secure and caring home.

"Looking after fostered children, many of whom who have experienced trauma, abuse or neglect, can be challenging.

"But it is that challenge, along with the reward of seeing these children and young people flourish, that many foster carers across the East of England say makes them proud to foster."

Today is the the first day of the charity's Foster Care Fortnight, running until May 27. New figures published to coincide show 8,100 families are needed across the UK.

People who think they have the relevant skills and experience to be able to look after fostered children, can find out more at www.thefosteringnetwork.org.uk/couldyoufoster.