Shortage of carers hits children’s lives

Children’s lives are being “badly disrupted” because of a critical
shortage of foster carers in England, reveals a survey by the
Fostering Network.

The survey of 97 councils shows a shortage of 8,200 foster carers –
a 35 per cent rise since the charity’s last survey in 2002.

London experienced the highest shortage at 2,000, followed by the
North West at 1,700.

In a call for the government to introduce a national minimum
fostering allowance, Fostering Network director Robert Tapsfield
said: “Too many children’s lives are being badly disrupted with
frequent moves and foster homes a long way from family, friends and

Department for Education and Skills figures for the year ending
March 2003 show that one in four children in public care live
outside their councils, while one in seven live in three or more
homes per year.

Meanwhile, in Scotland, where there is a shortage of 650 foster
carers, the Fostering Network has launched a code of practice to
assist recruitment and retention.

– Survey from 020 7620 6400

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