Suffolk: Thirty children waiting for permanent homes amid shortage of adoptive and foster parents
THERE is a shortage of people who are considering adopting or becoming foster carers, according to council bosses.
New figures have revealed there are 30 children in Suffolk waiting to be adopted, with a further 20 youngsters aged up to 11 in need of short to medium-term foster homes.
Graham Newman, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for children and young people, said although the figures may not seem high, the number represents a constant flow of children through the authority’s services.
He added: “At any one time there will be around 25 to 30 children waiting for permanent families, most likely through adoption.
“This number varies a little from month to month and to ensure we have families ready to bring children into their homes, the fostering and adoption teams work tirelessly to recruit and prepare families for this life-changing experience.”
Mr Newman said although the council worked hard to ensure families remained together, sometimes it is necessary to remove a child from their home environment to ensure their welfare is protected.
He added: “The welfare of children in care is always a priority. We continue to find families who are willing to offer a home to children through fostering and adoption when it is not possible for them to live with their families.
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“We have a team of dedicated staff who help people through the recruitment process and make it as easy as possible.
“I’d urge anyone interested in fostering or adopting a child in need to contact the county council as soon as possible.”
The plea comes as figures under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that 35 section 20 orders have been instigated by Suffolk Social Services in the last six months – where parents have agreed to place their child into the care of the Local Authority. In three cases the child was returned to their parents and made subject to a child protection care plan or deemed to be a child in need.
Fourteen of the cases resulted in care proceedings – with six resulting in the granting of adoption placements or orders and seven being placed in long term foster care.
A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: “A Section 20 order is a mutual agreement between social services and a child or children’s family that it is in their best interest that they are looked after by the local authority. Sometimes this is for a short period of time, sometimes longer.
“At all times, every possible effort is made to keep families together – if that is in the interest of the child.”
If you think you could foster or adopt a child, contact:
0800 389 9417
0800 328 2148