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Last Updated: Monday, 14 May 2007, 00:42 GMT 01:42 UK
Drive for foster carers launched
Children
The charity wants better conditions for children in foster care
A campaign aimed at recruiting hundreds of new foster carers across Scotland has been launched.

Fostering Network Scotland said another 1,700 homes were needed to help care for vulnerable children in Scotland.

It said it hoped the Foster Care Fortnight campaign would encourage more potential carers to come forward.

The organisation has also called on the Scottish Executive to introduce measures that would improve the lives of children in foster care.

Fostering Network Scotland sad it believed the current shortage of foster carers meant some children were unnecessarily moved from home to home, while foster carers were frequently asked to look after four or more fostered children, in addition to their own.

As long as you have the space, time and commitment, there is a type of foster care that could suit you
Bryan Ritchie
Fostering Network Scotland

Scotland is currently the only part of the UK that does not impose a limit of three fostered children with each foster family at any one time.

Overcrowding is often felt to put excessive pressure on foster families, with the result that placements are breaking down far too often.

The charity also said more training should be provided for foster carers and has called for the length of time a child remains in foster care to be extended until the age of 21 so that they are better prepared for independence.

Bryan Ritchie, director of Fostering Network Scotland, said: "While we are calling on the Scottish Executive to prioritise the needs of those in foster care, Foster Care Fortnight is not just about politics, it is also about finding more people to take on the challenge of foster care.

"A broader pool of foster carers will make it easier to find the right home for each child first time.

"Although lots of people have heard of fostering, most do not realise that they may be suitable, or that there are many different types of fostering, from short-term placements that require one weekend a month to others that last for many years."

'Good friends'

Mr Ritchie said that while some people choose to foster full-time, others combine fostering with a job outside the home.

He added: "As long as you have the space, time and commitment, there is a type of foster care that could suit you."

Foster carers Tom and Linda Mathieson said looking after vulnerable children had taught them to listen, encourage and communicate.

They said: "Our own children have been really involved and co-operative and made good friends with all the children.

"Initially when we came into fostering we thought we would be just working and helping a child or children. We soon realised it's not just a child, it's a whole family."


SEE ALSO
Move to improve care conditions
12 Nov 06 |  Scotland
Social workers warn of funds gap
24 Oct 06 |  Scotland
Call for foster care child limit
08 May 06 |  Scotland
Fostering services 'under strain'
18 Oct 05 |  Scotland

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