Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Manchester People Needed to Care for Manchester Kids

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Manchester People Needed to Care for Manchester Kids

Article excerpt

THOUSANDS of children are living in foster care in Greater Manchester yet there is still a shortage of families willing to take on the challenge.

As part of Foster Care Fortnight, local authorities have renewed their recruitment drive for new foster carers.

Manchester council is hoping to recruit 50 new foster carers this year to meet the rising demand of youngsters needing a home, and Salford council is looking for 40.

Similar appeals have been launched by all of the other local authorities.

There are more than 3,400 children already living in foster care across the region, but there are many youngsters still waiting for a placement.

Teenagers and sibling groups are the most difficult to place, according to fostering charities and agencies.

Children in care are also presenting more 'complex' behavioural needs.

James Foyle, from the Fostering Network charity, explained: "More and more children coming into care do have complex needs and need extra support.

"Child sexual exploitation is a big issue, as is alcohol and drug abuse. It varies from area to area, but foster parents have to understand those needs."

The Fostering Network estimates that fostering services across the UK, both council-led and agencies, need a further 8,370 foster families in 2015 alone.

Jon Broadhurst, north west manager at The Adolescent and Children's Trust (TACT), said the demand for foster homes had gone up partly due to the recognition that foster homes are better for children than residential care homes.

He added: "There is certainly a significant number of children who require foster placements and we haven't got enough.

"It's about recognising that foster placements are generally a better option as opposed to residential care.

"Finding the right foster home for the kids is absolutely crucial. For example with sibling groups, it's very important to keep them together, which is what we specialise in a TACT. …

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