research showed that many local people believe that the borough has
hundreds of foster carers when it has just 80.
youngsters. Across the borough there is a shortage of homes for children
aged eight to 16 in particular, more respite carers are needed to provide
weekend cover and there is a shortage of short-term carers to look after
The shortage of foster carers means that too many children's lives are
being disrupted with frequent moves. These vulnerable children, who need
stability and security, are often placed in foster homes a long way from
family, friends and school. St Helens is also targeting people aged 50 and
over to become foster carers.
The national charity Fostering Network says that local authorities need to
recruit 8,200 foster carers - a jump of more than a third since 2002.
London is the worst off, needing 2,000 extra carers, followed by the
north-west which needs 1,700.
The charity is blaming the recruitment problems on the fact that many
carers feel they are being left out of pocket and it is calling on the
Government to introduce a national minimum fostering allowance. Carers in
St Helens already receive this allowance.
SHORTAGE OF FOSTER CARERS 'HAS REACHED CRITICAL LEVELS'(Fostering Network)