Long-term foster parents sought as numbers of children in care rise

Lucy Earnshaw, deputy manager of Kirklees Council's long-term fostering team

Lucy Earnshaw, deputy manager of Kirklees Council's long-term fostering team

First published in News

LONG-TERM stable homes are needed for dozens of children in care, many of whom have suffered abuse or neglect in their short lives.

Kirklees Council is looking for long-term foster carers to bring up 85 children who cannot be adopted.

With an increasing number of children being taken into care, the Council is facing a shortage of long-term foster carers.

Lucy Earnshaw, the deputy manager of Kirklees Council's long-term fostering team, said that over the past five years, the number of children being taken into care had risen by 20 per cent.

She said: "Although most go back to live with their birth families or are adopted, about one fifth of all children currently in our care will need to be fostered until they reach adulthood.

"The sad reality is that in many cases, the older the child, the more difficult it is to find them a permanent home. For sibling groups and children with physical, learning or behavioural issues, their chances are further diminished.

"When a child comes into care, they will be going through their own mix of emotions and many will be upset and confused. If they cannot be placed within local, long-term foster care, they face the added upheaval of being moved around, possibly away from their family, school and everything they know.

"A child won’t necessarily understand why they have to leave their current foster family, only adding to their distress and uncertainty. Experience has shown us that a child who is moved around out of their local area may find it harder to build new friendships and long-standing relationships.

"Compare this to someone who has consistency and stability throughout childhood and is able to maintain links to their local school and community, and they are more likely to have higher self-esteem, achieve better results at school and stand a better chance of growing into confident, successful adults."

Children in need of permanent homes include an 11-year-old boy, who was taken into care after being exposed to instability, neglect and substance misuse, but is now doing well at school and is now the assistant head boy, and a 14-year-old girl, who has suffered from emotional and physical abuse, and is described as intelligent, insightful and sometimes shy.

For more information, visit kirklees.gov.uk/fostering or phone 0800 389 0086.

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