Ur­gent call for more fos­ter­ers

Rutherglen Reformer - - News -

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.

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