Urgent call for more foster carers in Hucknall
A fostering organisation is encouraging more people in Hucknall to think about offering safe and loving homes to vulnerable children and young people.
New figures suggest people in the East Midlands are unaware of the true number of children and young people referred to social services.
As part of Foster Care Fortnight, which started this week and runs until May 23, a report commissioned by Five Rivers Child Care an independent fostering organisation and social enterprise, revealed that there is a distinct lack of awareness around the number of children entering the care system.
Less than one per cent of people surveyed in the East Midlands had an accurate grasp on the true number of children being referred to social services each week.
Across England today, there are 57,380 children living with around 44,500 foster families, but more than 8,500 foster carers are still desperately needed nationwide to meet demand and help support children and young adults in need.
Martin Leitch, head of fostering operations at Five Rivers Child Care, which operates in Hucknall, said: “Children being taken into care is a sensitive and complex issue and something that people, generally, don’t want to think about.
"On average, over 1,000 children are referred to social services each week in England alone.
"Research has revealed that there has been a dramatic increase in referrals to social services since the start of the pandemic, and we are certain that it will continue to rise as it has done over the last several years.
“We are in desperate need of more foster families in Hucknall to care for children either on a temporary or permanent basis.
"If you’re a kind, compassionate person interested in fostering, do something different this year and get in touch to find out more.
"Fostering comes in many forms and can be tailored towards the needs and lifestyle of foster parent, or parents, and those in their care.
"Foster carers can work flexibly as respite or short-term foster carers, or they can have foster children and young people living with them long-term, meaning they would remain in care until they feel ready to live independently.”
There are lots of misconceptions around who can become a foster carer.
Five Rivers Child Care’s report highlighted that more than half of people living in the East Midlands aren’t aware those living in rented accommodation can foster – a serious misconception that could be hindering foster carer recruitment in Hucknall.
However, people from all walks of life can be considered to become foster carers as long as they are over 21 years of age and have the key qualities needed to look after children in care.
This includes single people, co-habiting couples, same sex couples and people living in rented accommodation.
There must be a spare room for each foster child.