Local foster carers urgently needed for babies and children under ten
The county council is appealing for new foster carers to come forward to provide a safe and loving home for babies and children under 10 as enquiries from new carers fall by two thirds.
Enquiries to foster have dropped dramatically across the UK as Covid-19 restrictions ease. In Gloucestershire we are seeing some of our lowest new enquiry numbers ever reported which is a significant concern resulting in an urgent appeal to local residents.
In June 2020, the county council received 63 enquiries from people interested in becoming a foster carer, but by June 2021 this number had dropped by two thirds to just 23.
This means that some children, like Molly, have to wait longer for the right foster home. Molly* (not her real name) is seven years old and is currently staying with short break foster carers until a long-term foster home can be found for her.
Molly’s social worker said, “Molly has a great sense of humour and is a wonderful little girl. She is happy, polite and very caring. She enjoys outdoor activities like going to the park, riding a bike and walking the dog. She also likes cooking, baking, gardening and playing boardgames.
Molly would love to be in a family home where she is the only child and can get lots of attention from her carers. She needs a family that can give her stability and consistency and help her come to terms with her earlier experiences.”
Usually the county council has a pool of available foster carers to look after babies and younger children. An increase in the number of children coming into care however, together with the decrease in enquiries from people interested in becoming foster carers, has meant there is now a shortage for this age group.
To help address this, the council will shortly be introducing fast track fostering assessments over an eight-week period to speed up the process for applicants.
Cllr Stephen Davies, cabinet member for children’s safeguarding and early years at Gloucestershire County Council said:
“We work hard to make sure every child is placed with the right family at the right time to meet their needs and to continue doing this we need more local residents to come forward to become foster carers.
“The need has never been greater, so if you have ever considered fostering, I’d urge you to get in touch with our fostering team now for an informal chat to find out more. It really is a hugely rewarding role and you will have the opportunity to make a real difference to a child’s life.”
To find out more about fostering for Gloucestershire County Council please visit www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/fostering or call 01242 532654.