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Extent of Foster Carer shortage revealed

 
Created on 28/09/2018 @ 06:15
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By Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporter

Resources will be used to target recruiting Foster Carers in areas where the numbers are low, the County Councl has confirmed after figures revealed just how stretched they currently are.

Work done as part of the draft Children Looked After Strategic Framework shows a data analysis of where the numbers of Foster Carers and children in care have been spread across Powys.

According to the council’s Children’s Services improvement consultant, Barry Kirwan, understanding the demographics of the county helps identify where more Foster Carers are needed.

One of the strategic aims of the framework is to: “Provide and commission a flexible and affordable mix of high quality placements for children who are looked after to meet the diverse range of their needs and circumstances.”

But according to the data, the number of children who have experienced three or more moves in a year has increased – this has led to a recruitment drive to find more foster carers.

Cllr Daniel Rowlands (Newtown Llanllwchaiarn North) looked at the figures and said that there was a “massive need for more foster carers”.

“Looking at my area (North Central Powys) there’s 61 looked after children from the Newtown, Llanfair Caereinion and Llanidloes area.

“But there are only 20 children placed in the area and six generic foster carers.

“Looking at Mid-West Powys (Llandrindod Wells, Rhayader, Builth Wells, Llanwrtyd Wells) fostering is really working very well in this area with 44 children looked after from the area, 46 children placed there and 32 generic foster homes.

“They’re doing well there. Obviously I’m looking at where I’m from, and there’s a massive need for more foster carers, is this achievable in the next five years?”

Mr Kirwan said: “We need to have aspirations, which is what this framework is.

“We now understand our demographic. Our starting point comes from understanding where we are and what we’ve got. And where we need to target in future.

“I’m not sure this was the case six months or a year ago. This has been really helpful for understanding the landscape and where we need to put resources in.

“Newtown is a busy area for us, we understand it now which is good.”

Committee chairman, Gwilym Williams, added: “Now you’ve got this grasp, you will concentrate on improving it in the future.”

The Framework appendices show that in:

North West Powys: Machynlleth

·      There is one generic foster carer

·      One looked after child placed in the area

·      Four Looked After Children from the area

North Central Powys: Newtown, Llanfair Caereinion and Llanidloes

·      There are six generic foster carers

·      20 looked after placed in the area

·      61 looked after children from the area

North East Powys: Llanfyllin, Welshpool

·      There are six generic foster carers

·      15 looked after placed in the area

·      48 looked after children from the area

Mid West Powys – Llandrindod Wells, Rhayader, Builth Wells, Llanwrtyd Wells

·      32 generic foster carers

·      46 looked after placed in area

·      44 children looked after from this area

Mid East Powys – Knighton, Presteigne

·      Two generic foster carers

·      Two looked after placed in the area

·      Five looked after children from this area

South Central Powys – Brecon, Hay-on-Wye, Talgarth, Crickhowell

·      Eight generic foster carers

·      26 looked after placed in the area

·      26 looked after children from the area

South West Powys – Ystradgynlais

·      Two generic foster carers

·      Five looked after placed in this area

·      20 looked after children from the area

By Christmas it is hoped that 15 more foster carers will have been trained by the authority.

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