A FOSTERING organisation that operates in Bromsgrove is calling for more foster carers in the area to stem the current shortfall.

A report commissioned by Five Rivers Child Care has revealed that one percent of people surveyed in the West Midlands knew the true number of children being referred to social services each week.

The number of children in care has significantly increased over the Covid pandemic, putting immense pressure on fostering services.

Martin Leitch, head of fostering operations at Five Rivers Child Care, said: “Children being taken into care is a sensitive and complex issue and something that people, generally, don’t want to think about. On average, over 1,000 children are referred to social services each week in England alone. Research has revealed that there has been a dramatic increase in referrals to social services since the start of the pandemic, and we are certain that it will continue to rise as it has done over the last several years.

“Today there is national shortage of more than 8,500 foster carers. This makes finding safe places for children to live extremely challenging. With the added post pandemic pressures, we are extremely concerned about whether there will be enough safe homes for vulnerable children in the greatest need.

“We are in desperate need of more foster families in Bromsgrove to care for children either on a temporary or permanent basis. If you’re a kind, compassionate person interested in fostering, do something different this year and get in touch to find out more. Fostering comes in many forms and can be tailored towards the needs and lifestyle of foster parent, or parents, and those in their care. Foster carers can work flexibly as respite or short-term foster carers, or they can have foster children and young people living with them long-term, meaning they would remain in care until they feel ready to live independently.”

The report was commissioned by Five Rivers Child Care as part of Foster Care Fortnight which is the is the UK’s biggest foster care awareness raising campaign.