‘Give a child a chance’ appeal

MORE foster carers are needed in a bid to improve the quality of life for looked after children.

Chair of children and young people scrutiny panel, Coun Colin Raistrick, said it was extremely important that people came forward to be foster carers in a bid to improve children’s prospects in years to come.

“It is all about the children’s outcomes and how they benefit from being brought up in a family environment compared to children’s homes and places like that,” he said. “We have had more than 100 people contact Calderdale Council about becoming foster carers since we launched our recruitment campaign in January but more are needed.”

Foster carers currently receive payments that range between £10,280 and £28,836 per year based on individual circumstances and the needs of the child they care for.

“People can make a living from becoming a foster carer particularly in these hard times. This can be a win win situation for both adults and the children who will benefit from a family home,” said Coun Raistrick (Ind, Hipp/Light).

The new procedure has reduced the expected average time it takes for someone from making an initial inquiry to actually becoming a foster carer to six months - from the previous average of 12.

“Anyone who loves children, I would encourage them to apply. The process to become a foster carer has been reduced but obviously it will still take time to do the appropriate checks. We have 350 looked after children in Calderdale. These are children that have not had the best start in life and it is our duty to try and improve their life chances. They are no different to any other children,” he said.

“Once we have a stable team of carers we could even look at weekend breaks, whether it is for disabled children or just to give foster carers a break to help and support them. The more people who apply the more work we can do and the better the outcomes for the children.

“The older a child gets the more difficult it gets for them to be fostered. We have got to increase their outcomes. They have already had a bad start and in a way it is a disadvantage. We have got to do our best to give them chances. At the end of the day it is not the child’s fault, we have got to be understanding in this situation and at the moment we are not.”

Councillors across all parties are agreeing that more needs to be done. “People can make a living but most important of all they can make a difference to a child’s life.

“If you put your name forward you will be dealt with quickly and you will be supported all the way through. Ask your local councillor for details or contact the council on 0845 245 6000 or visit calderdale.gov.uk/fostering

“I would encourage people who have tried before to try again because I can promise you it is quicker and if it’s not then contact me. At the end of the day you will be getting paid to love someone. We need to do the best we can for our children.”