COVENTRY council has renewed its drive to recruit more foster carers to help tackle child abuse and youngsters in care.
Public events have been arranged to seek to attract more people to the role.
It comes as Coventry City Council’s children’s services remains in special measures after an ‘inadequate’ rating by watchdog Ofsted in the wake of the murder of Coventry schoolboy Daniel Pelka.
Ofsted identified a number of challenges including failings between the city’s child protection agencies; a high number of children in care in Coventry; and soaring numbers of other youngsters assigned with child protection plans because they are deemed to be at risk of abuse and neglect.
Assigning a loving fostering or adoptive family for children needing care away from their natural parents is preferred to more traditional council care insititutions, and fostering placements outside the city.
Now a leading Labour councillor says the city is committed to its role in getting 1,000 more fostering households in the West Midlands this year.
Foster carers are also thought to be needed to cover those who are retiring, despite an overall increase in numbers last year.
Councillor Ed Ruane, children’s cabinet member, said: “We are very aware that there is a shortage of foster carers in Coventry, as elsewhere, and continuing to recruit more fostering households for Coventry children is a crucial issue for us again this year.
“It is important to also note that all children who need a foster family have one. However, wherever possible we want to keep Coventry children in or around Coventry, with their siblings and close to their family, friends, school and other familiar places.
“Placing children with Coventry City Council approved carers gives children the best chance of this happening. Without more foster families coming forward during 2016 to foster for Coventry City Council some children may find themselves living further away, or being split up from their brothers and sisters.
“I would urge anyone who is interested in fostering to get in touch with the team. The process to become a foster carer has been shortened recently and we also know people may assume they won’t be eligible to foster whereas actually they could be perfect.”
Rachel Brown, the council’s fostering and adoption recruitment officer, said: “We urgently need more people to consider fostering Coventry children. We have made some significant improvements to our fees and support for foster carers which mean that fostering may be a viable option for many more local people.
“We are available to talk to people on social media, telephone, online or face to face making it easier for people to find out more.”
Pauline, a Coventry foster carer also added: ‘‘We have been foster carers for over 15 years and I would recommend fostering to anyone. I can’t imagine doing anything else, although there are challenges it is so rewarding knowing you are making such a difference to children’s lives.’’
Anyone interested in finding out more can come along to one of the events, visit the website www.coventry.gov.uk/fostering, ‘Adopt and Foster for Coventry on Facebook, or call the team directly on 024 7683 2828.
‘Find out more’ events are being held on:
Tomorrow, Tuesday 12th January, 7pm at Alan Higgs Centre, Allard Way, CV3 3 1HW
Saturday 30th January, 12noon at The Hope Centre, Sparkbrook Street, CV1 5LB
Tuesday 23rd February, 7pm at Xcel Leisure Centre, Mitchell Ave, CV4 8DY