The number of children urgently requiring foster care from Barnardo’s has risen by over a half, the children’s charity has reported.
Between April and December 2020, the number of children referred to Barnardo’s fostering services in England rose by 57% compared to the same period in 2019. The number of referrals to the children’s charity’s fostering services rose from 8,302 in April-December in 2019 to 13,030 in 2020.
Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan said: “Vulnerable families have been hit hardest by the Covid-19 pandemic, with many reaching crisis point. This means more children than ever need a safe and loving foster family to care for them.”
The charity warns that without more potential foster carers coming forwards, children who may have experienced abuse and neglect and waiting for a foster placement may not be placed with a caring foster family that they may need.
The COVID-19 pandemic has and lockdowns have exacerbated existing problems and increased pressure on vulnerable families, with financial problems following job losses, deepening poverty and worsening mental health problems which all lead to breakdowns in families. Children have also been witnessing domestic abuse during lockdown and sexual abuse is taking place - pressures which will likely impact more families as the pandemic continues.
The charity is urging adults over 21, who have a spare room and the time and commitment to support a child to get in touch and consider fostering a child. Barnardo’s welcomes foster carers from all backgrounds, including single people, those from the LGBTQ+ community and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds.
Barnardo’s highlights that foster carers will be supported every step of the way by the charity and will also be eligible for financial support including carers’ allowance.
Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan added: “Barnardo’s has over 100 years’ experience bringing vulnerable children together with loving foster families, who provide the vital love and support children need to thrive. If you become a foster carer with Barnardo’s we will support you every step of the way with training and a dedicated social worker. You’ll also receive financial support, including a carer’s allowance.
“Today, there are hundreds of children who have been referred to Barnardo’s and are waiting to be placed with a foster family. We urgently need more potential foster carers to come forward. If you’re over 21, have a spare room and the time and commitment to support a child in need, please do consider getting in touch today.”
To find out more about fostering with Barnardo’s visit their website.