A new appeal is being made for foster parents as the numbers of children in care in the district remain at near-record levels.

Bradford Council’s fostering service is looking for people to provide loving, secure and supportive homes for older children and teenagers.

During Foster Care Fortnight, which runs from Monday, the Council is highlighting the need for more carers for children aged ten and over, with the support of Bradford singer Gareth Gates.

According to the latest figures, there are 900 children in care in Bradford, which is a slight drop from the record levels of 918 looked-after children revealed in January. Of the 900, a total of 433 are aged ten or over.

Sarah Patrick, the Council’s fostering service manager, said: “In Bradford we need more carers to look after older children and also to provide short breaks for all ages of children. If you think there is something you could offer, we would love to hear from you.”

To further highlight the campaign, Mr Gates, whose parents are foster carers and have looked after about 50 children over the years, is supporting Foster Care Fortnight. He will be planting the first tree in a new Looked After Children’s Woodland in Roberts Park, Saltaire, next week – the first of 22 to mark the fact that nationally, a child comes into care every 22 minutes.

He said: “Many of the kids who came into our family didn’t have a great start in life and I know my mum and dad made a huge difference.”

People can apply to foster regardless of their marital status, sexual orientation, residential status, ethnic or cultural background. Visit bradford.gov.

uk/fostering or call (01274) 434331.

e-mail: jo.winrow@telegraphandargus.co.uk

'Adoption scorecard' figures revealed

Children in Bradford must wait an average of 556 days or 18 months from entering care to moving in with their adoptive parents, according to local authority adoption scorecards, published for the first time today.

The timetable set out in national guidance is 639 days or 21 months. Bradford Council missed by six days the 214-day (seven month) threshold for matching a child to a family after a court order is made.

The scorecards are based on figures from 2009 to 2011, and the interim thresholds will be lowered gradually to 14 months and four months respectively within four years.

While 80 local authority areas met the interim thresholds, 72 did not meet one or both of the key measures.