At the start of Foster Care Fortnight, Monday 14 to Sunday 27 May, Barnardo’s Scotland, the leading children’s charity, is calling for people in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire to come forward to care for older, vulnerable, children and groups of siblings.
Over half (58%) of all the children referred to our service in Aberdeen over the last year were aged 10 and over.
The situation is particularly worrying, as there is such a general shortage of foster families across the country, with at least 1,000 new foster families needing to be found in Scotland in the next 12 months.
Stephanie Stone, Assistant Director for Fostering and Adoption for Barnardo’s Scotland, explains: “While there is considerable focus on placing younger children, the needs of older children and siblings needing to be placed together, are being forgotten. There needs to be a range of placements so that the system works for all children.
Barnardo’s Scotland guides foster carers through a detailed matching process and provides ongoing support. The charity also runs a series of parenting courses aimed at preparing foster carers for the process and equipping them with the skills to deal with children with a range of needs.
Foster carers come from all walks of life and you don’t have to come from a childcare profession to foster children. Stephanie, says: “It definitely helps if you’ve had experience with children, but the main qualities you need are patience and a caring nature.”
The charity finds carers for children who often have had many moves in the care system and who may be anxious and slow to build up trust. Children might have had problems in school or have had unhappy experiences, such as living with domestic violence.
Stephanie adds: “We are particularly keen to hear from people who might be able to look after children and young people with physical or learning disabilities and sibling groups, as these are the ones who we tend to find hardest to place.”
In return, the rewards are great. “We offer generous fees and allowances, excellent training and support as well as access to other in-house Barnardo’s Scotland services if they are needed.”
To find out more about fostering and adoption, call 0845 894 9501 or visit www.barnardos.org.uk/fosteringandadoption