Young foster carer 'youngest in Somerset' at 21

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Youngest foster carer
Image caption,
Rachel James said there was "an opportunity and a need" for her to step forward

A 21-year-old woman thought to be Somerset's youngest foster carer has taken on a brother and sister under the age of two.

Rachel James, from the Mendip area, took up the role after hearing emergency, short-term foster carers were needed during the pandemic.

She said: "When Covid happened and I saw the opportunity and the need, I decided 'yes' I could do that."

There are currently 550 looked-after children in the county.

Rachel grew up in a fostering family as her parents started fostering children before she was born, she said it was a "part of my childhood".

'Love to give'

She said: "The rewards and knowing what you've done is so positive. Every day is busy, full of activities and fun, but they are a real joy to look after.

"I haven't found my age to be a barrier in any way. If you've got the heart for it, if you've got the enthusiasm and love to give, I don't think that age necessarily matters."

She still lives in the family home with her parents, which means she has plenty of support.

Councillor Frances Nicholson, from Somerset County Council, said: "We are always keen to recruit foster carers, and it's particularly important during these difficult times. Coronavirus has presented so many challenges, especially for the young."

The council said people who want to foster must have a spare room in their home and would be paid a weekly fee and an allowance for the children's needs.

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