Foster care

Urgent plea for more foster carers

Rebecca Curley

Local Democracy Reporter

The number of children coming into the care system in Surrey has risen by more than 10% in the last three years, prompting an urgent plea for more foster carers.

Of the 1,000 looked after children in Surrey County Council’s (SCC) care, 500 are living in foster care.

But the council only has about 300 foster carers in the county.

That means about 40% of looked after children needing a safe and stable home are being sent out of Surrey to carers from another agency which increases the cost, councillors were told this week.

A plea for more support from county, borough and district councillors was made at the SCC and Spelthorne Borough Council joint committee meeting on Wednesday.

Surrey Fostering Service has launched a bid to reach out to different communities to encourage local residents to become foster carers.

More help is also needed to support unaccompanied asylum-seeking children who enter the county.

Surrey has the third largest number of children to support as they arrive in the country, with currently 130 in its care.

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Redcar and Cleveland Council is hoping to attract new foster families by sharing the stories of the children currently looking for a home.

The council is looking for long-term carers for Robyn, six, and Lucy, eight. They’d like separate bedrooms if possible because although they "love each other, they sometimes fight".

Charlie, six, and Luke, five, came into care last year and are ready to move into a long-term placement.

They love seeing their mother regularly and also like to keep in touch with their grandparents and great grandparents.

Zoe Wills
Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council

Zoe Wills (pictured), from Redcar, was fostered throughout her childhood and is now in her second year of a social work degree at Teesside University.

She said: “I would urge people to become foster carers. There will be plenty of bad days but there will be more good ones.

"I know I wasn’t an easy child to cope with but I want to say thank you to my foster mum for everything she did for me and especially for her perseverance.”

Councillor Craig Hannaway said the authority has seen a 66% increase in the number of children in care over the last five years.

A recruitment event will be held at Redcar Heart on 13 February from 17:30 to 19:00.