More children going into care nationally while fostering enquiries drop
11 January 2021
Fortunately, in Brent we can keep things under control if more people look into fostering
Before the pandemic, in the UK every 20 minutes a child was entering care and there were under 400,000 children in the social care system at one time. Since March 2020, the situation has taken a dramatic turn. According to UK charity Barnardo’s, the number of children entering care has gone up by 44% between 1 March and 23 April 2020. The same charity has evidenced that the number of people coming forward to foster has dropped by 47%.
In Brent, the pandemic has hit hard the most vulnerable families, who are now struggling with issues relating to poverty, unemployment, social inequalities or domestic violence. As a result, we expect to see more children and young people needing safe homes, and fewer adults coming forward to apply for fostering in the future.
The number of children needing foster parents has always been higher than that of available carers. Despite the fact that since March 2020 we have seen fewer children and young people coming into care and more people being interested in fostering, this still holds true. We have a nearly 100 of dedicated foster parents who together can look after around 200 children, yet the number of available fostering households is still not enough. Moreover, we are dealing with another challenge – the diversity of the children in care. When a child enters care, we do a lot of work to match them with foster carers from the same socio-cultural background. However, due to the limited offer, this is not always possible. In addition to not having enough carers, we are also struggling to recruit people from various backgrounds – an issue that is not as common in other areas of the country.
We would like to raise awareness about a potential spike in the number of children entering care and the shortage of foster carers. We do not know how close we are to the end of the pandemic, but we also cannot wait for it to end. We must act now to prevent a fostering crisis.
So, could you foster?
First of all, you need to love children, have a drive to help others and be nurturing, patient and kind. Secondly, you need to be over 21, have permission to stay in the UK indefinitely, and live in a home where there is space for a child.
Next visit >>> brent.gov.uk/fostering