Scots campaigners call for foster limits

Scotland’s national foster care strategy must bring the country into line with the rest of the UK by introducing a limit on the number of children placed with foster carers, campaigners say.

Bryan Ritchie, director of Fostering Network Scotland, said Scotland was the only country in the UK not to impose a limit of three fostered children with each foster family at any one time, and  action was needed to stop carers being overwhelmed.

He added: “Carers are all too often being asked to look after five or more children, putting extreme pressure on foster families.”

The strategy, announced last week by education minister Peter Peacock, will aim to tackle the estimated shortage of 1,700 foster carers in Scotland.

Ritchie said this could also be achieved by introducing a fee for fostering, higher allowances to reflect the cost of looking after foster children, and better training.

Peacock said that increasing the number of foster carers was the best way of protecting vulnerable children such as the Glasgow 11-year old who collapsed at school after taking heroin for two months.

“Recently we have seen a catalogue of cases where children have been  seriously neglected. It is absolutely vital we have suitable placements available, and immediately on hand, for more young people,” he added.

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