Hartlepool foster carers 'punching above their weight' after responding to plea for more to come forward

Hartlepool’s leaders praised foster carers in the town for ‘punching above their weight’ and issued a plea for more to come forward.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 12 July, 2019, 06:00
Hartlepool Civic Centre

Council chiefs say after a call for more to come forward, there 28 initial enquiries were made around becoming a foster carer in 2018/19, and all of these were followed up with information packs being sent out.

This led to 24 home visits by staff, and 13 proceeded to the initial ‘Skills to Foster’ training.

Council bosses stated they expected to have a high number of people drop away after expressing interest, but it ensures those who persist are right for the job.

They also praised the work of current foster carers in the town, but added, as always, more foster carers are wanted, with a priority for 2019/20 to recruit at least 10 additional foster carers.

Jane Young, council assistant director of children’s & joint commissioning services, said: “Some of our foster carers are doing more than ever.

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“Even in challenging times we’re actually punching above our weight, which we need to be careful of because we don’t want to overstretch our foster carers.

“In terms of recruitment the most important thing is, that I think the vast majority come from recommendations from other foster carers, so that’s good, and we’ve got foster carers looking to the next generation of fostering, so that shows a lot about the support and the job that they do.

The issue was up for discussion at Hartlepool Borough Council children’s services committee.

As of the end of March this year there was 151 foster carers in Hartlepool, providing placements for 187 children.

Council bosses also noted as demand for placements increases, it is ‘imperative’ that the pace of foster care recruitment is improved to ensure the choice and range of potential families for children is increased proportionately.

Coun Brenda Harrison said: “I would imagine one of the challenges with fostering is getting the right people to foster, and I know you do a lot of work in getting the right people.”