The Foster Network are concerned that a number of factors, including tightening restrictions for applicants and pressurising austerity measures, are keeping people away from signing up as foster carers. It is believed that an extra 9,000 families are required to make up the shortfall, with the biggest deficit being amongst carers for teenage children.
‘Fostering services are looking for people from all walks of life to become foster carers, of all ages, and from single people to large families, claims Jackie Sanders, head of media and campaigns at The Fostering Network. ‘What matters is that they have a desire to work with children and the right skills.’
The care and guidance a foster family gives a young person is clearly special and an intrinsically important part of their life. With over 62,000 children spending each night without a permanent home in the UK, the need for an increase in carers who are the right fit is clearly evident. Many thousands of children stay with their foster carers for many years, and some permanently. Others get matched for adoption, and a smaller number return home if this is deemed appropriate. Despite the total number of UK fostering households going up by nearly 50,000 over the past year, demand exceeds this and The Foster Network are continually committed to providing vulnerable young people stable and secure lives.
If you are interested in becoming a foster carer, there are many avenues open to explore. Contact the National Fostering Agency (www.nfa.co.uk) for more information.
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