Almost 10,000 more foster families needed to keep children in their communities, charity says
The Fostering Network says that a lack of foster families mean children are being placed away from their local communities.
The Fostering Network says there is an “urgent need” for more foster families as the number of children coming into care rises.
It says that too often, due to a lack of foster carers, children are placed with foster families away from their local communities, and sibling groups are separated.
The charity warns that across the UK around 9,265 more fostering families are needed, to make sure every child gets the care they need and are supported within their community. Foster carers who can support sibling groups are particularly needed, to ensure that children can be cared for together and don’t lose vital connections to their family.
Currently, there are over 70,000 children living with almost 56,000 foster families in the UK, and the number of children coming into care keeps rising, and the reasons children become looked after vary widely.
This issue is highlighted during ‘Foster Care Fortnight’ (9-22 May), the charity’s annual awareness raising campaign, as they call for more people to come forward to foster, to ensure that children in need of a foster home can be cared for locally.
Some foster families look after children on a short-term basis, but for many, fostering offers a secure, permanent home. The charity says that providing support and care in a family setting and enabling children to stay in their local community minimises further disruption to their lives by helping them stay in their school, close to their friends, and maintaining connections with family members.
Kevin Williams, Chief Executive of The Fostering Network, said each child’s circumstances and needs are different, but every child has the right to have their needs met within their own community, and stay connected to those who are important to them.
“We urgently need more foster carers to come forward to care for children within their local communities. Foster carers are the bedrock of children’s social care; they are vital in our society and our young people rely on their care, dedication, passion and skills to support them when they need it most.
“If you have ever considered fostering, now is the time to get in touch with your local fostering service and find out more. The fostering community is open to people from all walks of life and backgrounds: you can become a foster carer no matter your age, gender, relationship status or sexual orientation.
“Community can be built around a variety of aspects of people’s lives, and it is important that different identities are represented within the fostering community.
Walt, a single foster carer for over five years who looks after teenagers, said becoming a foster carer is one of the biggest decisions he ever made, but also one of the best ones.
“To witness a young person that is in your care show you that they trust you, that they open up and connect with you is the most rewarding feeling ever – and the biggest compliment anyone could ever give me.”
Find out more about Foster Care Fortnight: http://www.thefosteringnetwork.org.uk/fcf
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