Foster carers sought in Aberdeenshire

According to the Fostering Network a child comes into care and needs a foster family every 22 minutes across the UK.

Some children only need to spend a short time in foster care, if a parent becomes ill and there are no other family members locally to help in these situations or some may need to stay with their foster family until they grow up and can live on their own.

In Aberdeenshire the number of children who need to be looked after outwith their own family is constantly increasing and last year 135 fostering requests for children were made.

The authority currently has around 150 children in foster care ranging from newborn babies to young people attending University and approaching 18 years of age.

There is also a nationwide shortage of permanent foster carers and placements for teenagers and this is evident in Aberdeenshire with around 20 children aged between 8 to 12 years old who are waiting on a permanent foster placement.

Head of children’s services Bob Driscoll said: “We have a very committed and skilled pool of foster carers who provide excellent care for children ranging from short periods right through to more permanent arrangements.

“We want to recruit more foster carers however in order to retain children in their local communities.

“In Aberdeenshire our support to foster carers who undertake this vital role is second to none.

“I encourage individuals or couples from all walks of life to contact our dedicated team who will answer any questions and explain what is involved in helping our young people be all that they can be.

“We would be particularly keen to hear from potential applicants who might be interested in offering permanent fostering for children between 7 to 12 years old.”

Despite the increased pressures on placements for older children Aberdeenshire Council has shown success in recruiting new foster carers with an increase of fostering families in Aberdeenshire to 108 during 2011/12.

Family placement team manager Elaine Dickson said this is due to the quality of information and support carers receive through an ongoing programme of recruitment and training events held throughout the year.

Elaine said: “We have a good reputation and have worked hard to provide good levels of support and training for our foster carers.

“The two biggest sources of recruitment we find is our website and ‘word of mouth’ where people become interested because they have heard from friends or family members who already foster for Aberdeenshire Council about the quality of the support they receive from the Fostering Service.”

Find out more about fostering in Aberdeenshire at www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/children/fostering/index.asp

The Family Placement Service can also be contacted at 93 High Street, Inverurie, AB51 3AB or by calling 01467 625555 or emailing fostering.befriending@aberdeenshire.