Waiting lists are growing
A children’s charity has warned of a 50% upsurge in the number of children and young people requiring foster care.
As part of Fostering Focus Fortnight, which began on 9 January and runs to 22 January, Barnardo’s Scotland has revealed that there are now nearly 700 children and young people who are on waiting lists for foster care – up from 461 in just a year.
Martin Crewe, director of Barnardo’s Scotland, said: “At Barnardo’s Scotland, we are committed to keeping the promise to care-experienced young people and to ensure every child in Scotland grows up safe, loved and respected. In situations where children and young people require to be looked after away from their own families and homes, either for a short period until their family life improves, or at other times on a long-term basis, our aim is to provide these children with caring, loving and stable foster families.
“That is why, during Barnardo’s Fostering Focus Fortnight, we are calling on people to consider joining Barnardo’s Scotland as a foster carer. We have more than 80 years of experience of successfully placing children and young people with families, and there are many benefits of being a carer with us.
“For example, you will be supported with a thorough child and carer matching process, as well as out-of-hours advice and a support line service provided by our social work team. There are regular support groups and family social events, held to enable carers to meet our team and other local carers, along with a high level of professional training and development, relevant to each specific placement.”
Peter and Elizabeth Smith have been fostering with Barnardo’s Scotland for 17 years. During that time, they have looked after more than 30 children – and have enjoyed every minute. They have urged others to consider becoming a foster carer given the huge benefits it can bring for not only the children and young people, but for the carers themselves.
The couple, who live in South Lanarkshire, said: “We chose Barnardo’s Scotland for one reason only and that’s because it was an opportunity to bring about some healing in a child’s life and a restoration of hope for the child. It is a full therapeutic type of work and that’s what attracted us to it.
“The work of being a foster carer is very challenging, but it’s amazing once you start seeing young people’s lives getting on a solid foundation and them becoming functioning human beings and having a good life. And that’s what we would describe fostering as… the opportunity not just to help, but to get involved in somebody’s life and to change it for the better.
“When you’re a foster carer, you are part of a team. You are not doing it alone and you’re not in it with just your own experience; you’re doing it with a whole team behind you that’s giving you that back-up. That’s what Barnardo’s is – it’s a team. That makes a massive difference.”
Barnardo’s Scotland works to support all children, regardless of their circumstances, gender, race, disability or behaviour, with the purpose of transforming their lives for the better. The charity has a reputation for providing excellent support to its carers and, accordingly, few of its foster placements break down.
All foster carers receive a daily allowance which is designed to cover the cost of caring for a fostered child. This is intended to cover food, clothes, toys, pocket money, gifts, personal items, transport and all other expenses incurred when looking after a child and/or young person, including household costs.
Crewe added: “When considering fostering, you will want to know that the organisation that you apply to is trustworthy and reliable, and that the values and ethos of the charity places children at its heart, whilst at the same time valuing the commitment and hard work of its carers. Barnardo’s Scotland’s reputation is second to none, and so you can be confident that if you decide to become a carer with us that you will be part of a nationally respected organisation.”