Urgent call for more fosterers
Children are having to travel from South Lanarkshire to other parts of Scotland because there are not enough foster carers near to their communities and schools.
Currently, eight children – including two sets of siblings – are waiting to be placed with foster carers in South Lanarkshire.
A further seven youngsters, including a pair of siblings, are awaiting adoptive placements.
There are currently 97 foster care households in South Lanarkshire and 24 short break households.
But that’s simply not enough to cope with demand from the increasing number of children who need foster care.
With many foster carers approaching retirement age and deciding to step down after many years, South Lanarkshire Council’s adoptive and fostering manager Jan Strain says the need to recruit more carers is more pressing than ever.
“We have to work hard, even just to stand still,”Jan told the Reformer.
“The reality is there is an increase in the children and young people being accommodated in South Lanarkshire.
“We are not only trying to recruit to cover retirement and people deciding to go back to the workplace, but we need more placements.
“There is so much competition from other local authority areas and independent agencies. We need to alert people to the fact that South Lanarkshire does have a fostering and adoption agency and needs local families.
“Placements are sometimes quite a distance from the areas the children know and quite far within Scotland.”
As fostering becomes increasingly acknowledged as a profession, individuals and couples who apply can benefit from enhanced training at SVQ level as part of an entry process that typically takes six months.
“I want to stress that we want people from all walks of life and all its vagaries,”said Jan.
“Some people think they can’t foster as they’re too old or they don’t own their own house. There are a lot of misconceptions.
“Essentially, we want people who have some experience of children through their families or work and are absolutely committed to offering a young person a nurturing home life, who care about children and their well being and are able to understand the needs of children who have had very difficult experiences.
“We want children to feel nurtured and included in their families.”
The family placement team are also seeking foster carers who can work as part of a team of professionals.
Jan added:“We have a phenomenal group of staff who are committed and motivated, and the support for carers is second to none. There are going to be difficult times. We are under no illusion about what we are asking carers to do in working through difficulties.”
For anyone interested in fostering, an open evening will be held on Wednesday, November 7 from 5.30pm to 7.30pm at the Council HQ, Almada Street, Hamilton.
Alternatively contact 0303 123 1008 or visit www.southlanarkshire.gov.uk/ areyouready.