Foster care crisis call in Northumberland

Just 10 people in Northumberland applied to become a foster carer over a 12-month period, despite hundreds expressing an interest, new figures show.

Monday, 17th May 2021, 1:21 pm
Updated Monday, 17th May 2021, 1:37 pm
Foster care crisis

The figures come in the middle of Foster Care Fortnight – May 10 to 23 – a nationwide drive for thousands more foster families.

Ofsted figures show that, in Northumberland, around 280 initial enquiries about fostering were received between April 2019 and March last year – resulting in just 10 applications being submitted.

At the end of March 2020, there were around 170 households opening their doors to vulnerable children in the area, with an estimated 275 youngsters living with foster families – 63% of the area’s 434 looked after children,

Of those, 40 were approved to offer permanent places, with 55 given permission to foster children of family or friends.

The figures for 2019-20 also show 40 children in the area moved between placements at least three times.

Experts are calling for more people to come forward to ensure there is a larger pool of fosterers.

Sadie Constable from the Fostering Network said thousands of new carers could ensure every child in need of a foster family is placed with people who have the right skills to care for them “at the first time of asking”.

She added: “We know that multiple moves between foster homes once a child comes into care can be destabilising for them, so it’s vital that we have the numbers of skilled foster carers needed to make sure that this doesn’t happen.”