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Fostering services need to reach out to wider range of carers
The care system is facing major challenges as the number of looked after children rises and retiring foster carers are not replaced fast enough, Children’s Minister Tim Loughton has warned.
He has urged fostering services not to be blinkered when considering who has the capacity to foster and to reach out to a wider pool of potential carers – able to help the increasingly challenging needs of children coming in care.
The Minister has argued that there will be a rising turnover of foster carers over coming years, caused in part by an aging workforce – the vast majority are already in their late forties to mid-50s. He said without younger and skilled foster carers coming forward, the current shortfall of carers will only grow.
Announcing measures to strengthen foster carers’ recruitment and retention, he has called on more fostering services to target those in caring professions, like nursing, teaching and social work, as potential foster carers.
Three quarters of the 65,000 children in care at any one time are in foster care – with as many as 91,000 spending some time in the care system over the course of a year.
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