Just 10% of children on fostering waiting list in Scotland found families in last year

Just 40 of the 400 children referred to Barnardo’s fostering service in Glasgow and Edinburgh have been placed with families in the last year, the charity has revealed.

The number of children and young people referred to the charity’s foster care services increased by almost 50% in the same period.

In 2020/21 the number on the waiting list for foster care was 461, but in 2021/22 this rose to 691 – an increase of just under 49.9%.

However, the number of foster carers registered with Barnardo’s has fallen by around 12% over the last decade.

In September 2012, the charity had 185 foster carers but in September 2022 this number was 164.

Covid-19 played a large role in the number of youngsters in need of help, with children and families not having access to support during lockdown and not being observed in schools, at home or in the community.

The cost-of-living crisis has also put additional pressure on families who were already struggling, the charity said.

Barnardo’s has now issued an urgent call for people to sign up to become foster carers as the charity marks its Fostering Focus Fortnight from January 9-23.

Foster carers Peter and Elizabeth Smith (pictured), from South Lanarkshire, have looked after almost 30 children over the last 17 years.

“The work of being a foster carer is very challenging, but it’s amazing once you start seeing young people’s lives getting on a solid foundation and them becoming functioning human beings and having a good life,” they said.

“And that’s what we would describe fostering as – the opportunity not just to help, but to get involved in somebody’s life and to change it for the better.”

Martin Crewe, director of Barnardo’s Scotland, said: “At Barnardo’s Scotland, we are committed to keeping The Promise to care-experienced young people and to ensure every child in Scotland grows up safe, loved and respected.

“That is why, during Barnardo’s Fostering Focus Fortnight, we are calling on people to consider joining Barnardo’s Scotland as a foster carer.

“We have more than 80 years of experience of successfully placing children and young people with families, and there are many benefits of being a carer with us.

“For example, you will be supported with a thorough child and carer matching process, as well as out-of-hours advice and a support line service provided by our social work team.

“There are regular support groups and family social events, held to enable carers to meet our team and other local carers, along with a high level of professional training and development, relevant to each specific placement.”

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