Wakefield Council has net gain in foster carers for 'first time in many years'

Wakefield Council recruited more foster carers than it lost over a 12 month period for the first time in several years, it's been revealed.

Monday, 14th September 2020, 4:45 pm

The local authority had a net gain of nine fostering households between April 2019 and March 2020.

In recent years the council has struggle to attract new families to replace carers who've either retired or decided to leave the system.

The problem has coincided with rising numbers of children coming into care, leaving many youngsters without a stable home.

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The numbers of children going into the care system in Wakefield have risen over the last year.

In January 2019, Wakefield Council had just 166 foster families on its books - around one for every three children in the care of the local authority.

But a wide-reaching local campaign to encourage people to consider fostering, which included adverts at the home grounds of Wakefield Trinity and Castleford Tigers, now appears to have born fruit.

It was reported last year that enquiries from potential carers had jumped by 40 per cent, which has now translated into more households deciding to sign up.

Speaking at a council meeting on Monday, the council's director for children's social care, Vicky Schofield, said: "We've been successful in increasing our number of foster carers over the last financial year.

The council reported a 40 per cent increase in fostering enquiries last year.

"We had a net increase of nine fostering families.

"It's the first time we've achieved a net rise in many years in Wakefield.

"This year we're on target to hit our projections around increases in foster carers, notwithstanding the challenge that Covid presents."

Ms Schofield also said that the numbers of children coming into care in Wakefield had "stabilised" after a huge increase in the autumn of last year.

As of July, the local authority was directly responsible 649 youngsters, a rise of just over 70 from the previous July.

Local Democracy Reporting Service