Another town suffering from a lack of foster carers.

May 11, 2012 – Gareth supports new appeal for foster carers

A new appeal is being made for foster parents as the numbers of children in care in the district remain at near-record levels. Bradford Council’s fostering service is looking for people to provide loving, secure and supportive homes for older children and teenagers. During Foster Care Fortnight, which runs from Monday, the Council is highlighting the need for more carers for children aged ten and over, with the support of Bradford singer Gareth Gates…

Singer, Gareth Gates made an appeal for foster carers today. During an appearance on BBC breakfast news, he highlighted the fact that his home town of Bradford desperately needed new carers. Particularly, he pointed out, carers who would be willing to take on older teenagers and young pregnant girls.

This appears to be a problem nationwide, with carers often stipulating that they only want to take on younger children. They have every right to do this of course, and for many families, an older child simply wouldn’t be an option. It may be that they have very young children already, or they may not have had any experience with older kids. Whatever the reasons, it leaves the various councils with a group of older young people that they can’t place with families.

This group then end up in mother and baby hostels or group homes. There are of course some decent facilities available to them, but the best place is almost certainly with a family.

I think that the local authority in each town need to re-look at their recruitment strategy and their advertising campaigns. The focus needs to be more targeted towards pregnant teens and older kids, rather than cute posters of little children in need. I know that all ages of children come into the care system, but if we are to help those in most need, then something needs to change.

I have fostered three pregnant teenagers now, and many older kids. They can be very challenging, but can also bring so much joy into your life. In some ways, I find them much easier to look after than the younger ones, and there is nothing more rewarding than watching them blossom into good mothers and responsible adults.

If you or someone you know wants to learn more about giving an older child somewhere to call home, please phone your local council and ask to be put through to the fostering and adoption section. You don’t have to make an instant decision and it just might be the best phone call you’ve ever made.