As the number of children in care across Nottinghamshire reaches an all-time high, the county council has launched a month-long campaign to recruit more foster carers and more adoptive parents.
The council has launched a desperate appeal for more foster carers and also need adoptive families for 51 children currently in foster care.
Nuthall councillor Philip Owen is the county council’s cabinet member for children and young people.
He said: “Across the county, we currently have 776 children in care – nearly double the number four years ago – and we urgently need more people to get in touch who feel that they could offer a stable and loving home to children.
“Our previous drives to recruit more foster carers and adoptive families have been largely successful, but as well as the increasing demand for foster carers, for example, we also have to replace those who are retiring or find that they’re no longer able to foster for various reasons.”
Rachel and Jim Mendham live in the Eastwood and Kimberley area, and have fostered three children over the last nine years.
Currently they have a three-and-a-half-year-old boy living with them and their two sons.
Rachel, 42, says fostering can be very hard work because often the children have problems, but pointed out it is also very rewarding.
“It’s great knowing you’ve helped them, and knowing you are giving them a good foundation before they move on,” she told the Advertiser.
“It takes a lot of patience. It is exceptionally hard work at times but you do get rewards. When you’ve had a breakthrough it’s a great feeling. Maybe they weren’t eating and then they start eating, or maybe they just come up and give you a cuddle. It’s little moments like that and you realise why you are doing it.”
Of the 50 children needing foster homes, 25 are over 10-years-old and the council says the older children are much harder to find homes for.
Cllr Owen said: “With fostering and adoption, we have relatively little difficulty recruiting families willing to take babies.
“Our challenge tends to come in other areas such as placing brothers and sisters together, placing older children and placing children with developmental delay or developmental uncertainty. These are the areas of need in which we need more help.”
The county council offers foster carers and adoptive families a range of support, allowances and training.
To find out more about adoption or fostering, call the council’s recruitment teams on 0845 301 8899 (for fostering) or 0845 3012288 (for adoption) or visit www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/adoptionandfostering.