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Barnardo’s Scotland Calls for Foster Carers for Older Children and Sibling Groups

Release Date: 15 May 2012

At the start of Foster Care Fortnight, Monday 14 to Sunday 27 May, Barnardo’s Scotland, the leading children’s charity, is calling for people to come forward to care for older, vulnerable, children and groups of siblings.

At the start of Foster Care Fortnight, Monday 14 to Sunday 27 May, Barnardo’s Scotland, the leading children’s charity, is calling for people to come forward to care for older, vulnerable, children and groups of siblings. Over half (58%) of all the children referred to our service in Scotland over the last year were aged 10 and over.

The situation is particularly worrying, as there is such a general shortage of foster families across the country, with at least 1,000 new foster families needing to be found in Scotland in the next 12 months.

Stephanie Stone, Assistant Director for Fostering and Adoption for Barnardo’s Scotland, explains:

While there is considerable focus on placing younger children, the needs of older children and siblings needing to be placed together, are being forgotten. There needs to be a range of placements so that the system works for all children."

Barnardo’s Scotland guides foster carers through a detailed matching process and provides ongoing support. The charity also runs a series of parenting courses aimed at preparing foster carers for the process and equipping them with the skills to deal with children with a range of needs.

Foster carers come from all walks of life and you don’t have to come from a childcare profession to foster children. Stephanie, says:

It definitely helps if you’ve had experience with children, but the main qualities you need are patience and a caring nature.”


Pioneers of modern day fostering, Barnardo’s first placed children in family settings more than one hundred years ago. Today the charity is urgently calling for foster carers who will look after children for either short breaks of just a few weeks, a number of years, or until they reach adulthood.

Stephanie continues,

We want to encourage people who may never have considered fostering to think about what they have to offer. There is no doubt that it is a major step, it can be hard work and very demanding, but the rewards can be immense.”

Barnardo’s Scotland is looking for carers with a high level of understanding and warmth; people who are nurturing and who may have either cared for, or worked with young people before.

The charity finds carers for children who often have had many moves in the care system and who may be anxious and slow to build up trust. Children might have had problems in school or have had unhappy experiences, such as living with domestic violence.

Stephanie says:

We are looking for people who will help children get the best out of life, be supportive of them at school, encourage them to do well and be advocates for them.

Children in foster care aren’t looking for replacement parents, but they could identify with having some other kind of supportive, encouraging adult in their lives.”


She added:

We are particularly keen to hear from people who might be able to look after children and young people with physical or learning disabilities and sibling groups, as these are the ones who we tend to find hardest to place.”

In return, the rewards are great.

We offer generous fees and allowances, excellent training and support as well as access to other in-house Barnardo’s Scotland services if they are needed.”

To find out more about fostering and adoption, call 0845 894 9501 or visit www.barnardos.org.uk/fosteringandadoption

Ends

Notes to Editors


This press release applies to Scotland.


1. Some children have needs that have not previously been met, or issues that manifest themselves later in the teenage years

2. Source: Fostering Network (December 2011): http://www.fostering.net/media/2011/crisis-looms-foster-care-in-2012. UK figure stated 8,750

3. The number of children in care in the UK living with foster families at any one time has risen every year since 2005 from 49,700 to over 59,000 in 2011. Source Fostering Network

4. Referrals April 2011 to March 2012 All referrals 482, sibling groups 80, aged 10 and over 282

Barnardo’s Scotland Fostering – Referrals April 2011 to March 2012