More children are being taken into care with fewer foster carers to look after them, says Barnardo’s as it launches its 10th annual fostering campaign.
The number of children in care across Merseyside has risen by 15 per cent in the past four years, with more than 480 more children in care in 2018 compared to 2014.
The number of children in care across the whole of England has increased by 27 per cent in the last 10 years, with 75,420 children now in care in total (as of 31 March 2018).
Barnardo’s foster carers look after hundreds of children, giving them the best chance to have a happier and positive future. However, the charity is concerned there are not enough suitable foster families to take care of the increasing numbers of vulnerable children in care.
It’s estimated that fostering services across the North West need to recruit at least a further 1,240 foster families in the next 12 months alone, in order that all locally fostered children can live with the right family for them.
Without enough foster carers, this could mean children have to wait longer before finding the best match or that they may need to be moved to different families several times because the most appropriate carer is not available, which can have a negative impact on a child. There is a particular need for foster carers to look after teenagers and sibling groups.
Rebecca Quigley, Manager for Barnardo’s North West Fostering Service said: “As the number of children in care continues to rise, it’s more important than ever that more people consider becoming foster carers to ensure the right loving families are available in the right location with the right training when children need them.
“Being a foster carer can be a challenge, but our carers tell us that opening your heart and your home to a vulnerable child is one of the most rewarding things you can do, giving children the life skills, support and care they need to build brighter futures.
“Children who have been taken into care have sometimes experienced trauma or difficult circumstances, which can make everyday challenges more difficult to overcome.
“Having a foster carer to support them through any difficult times can help enormously but our carers can only do this if they're properly supported too. That’s why we ensure they have everything they need whether that’s advice, training or peer support from other foster carers, to feel confident they can help transform a young life.
“I would like to thank each and every one of our amazing foster carers for their dedication and urge anyone considering becoming a foster carer to get in touch to find out more.”
Barnardo’s North West Fostering Service offers comprehensive training and support to its foster carers, including extensive support throughout the application process, intensive induction and regular ongoing training, dedicated out of hours access to a qualified social worker, access to foster carer support groups, short breaks and a generous financial fee.
To find out more about becoming a foster carer, or the support Barnardo’s can offer visit: www.barnardos.org.uk/fostering orwww.facebook.com/barnardosnorthwestfostering.
To speak to a member of the Barnardo’s team about foster caring, please call 0800 0277 280 or 0151 488 0822.